Blended Learning in the Campus-Based University: A Case Study Exploring the Student Experience of Technology for Enhancing Learning

Blended Learning in the Campus-Based University: A Case Study Exploring the Student Experience of Technology for Enhancing Learning

Amanda Jefferies (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2014-8.ch016
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Abstract

The development of the term ‘blended learning’ in academic circles has been growing since 2004 when it first emerged as a sub-set of e-learning as noted by, among others, Conole who commented on the impact of technology in the student experience when she asserted that: ‘e-learning is now no longer a peripheral activity, the province of the isolated enthusiast, but is pervading Higher Education (HE), not just as an effective infrastructure for distance courses but blended with more traditional approaches on campus.’ (Conole & Fill, 2005). This chapter firstly explores the role and importance of blended learning from the student perspective in Higher Education and secondly, from the case study described below, identifies transcultural factors which contributed to the successful embedding of blended learning in a medium-sized UK institution.
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The Developing Landscape Of Blended Learning Through The First Decade Of The 21St Century

With the development of e-learning in the last years of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, prospective students now have more choice about where and how they might study. Instead of choosing a place to study based on the two traditional options of either studying online or studying at an institution which offers an ‘on-campus’ experience, students can now choose a blended environment which could offer the best of both an online and on-campus learning experience. Blended learning has been variously described in the literature but the one to which this author ascribes and whose description aligns most closely with this case-study institution’s view is the description originally proposed by Garrison and Kanuka (2004): ‘the thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences” (p.2) .

In this chapter the author discusses her own research into the student experience of blended learning, carried out at a UK-based case study institution. The study aimed to investigate how students have used personal and institutionally provided technologies to enhance their learning and how they describe their developing confidence and ultimately their clear preference for studying with the opportunities provided by a blended environment.

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