Placing Technology in Learner-Centered Design Through Blended Learning in Post-Secondary Education

Placing Technology in Learner-Centered Design Through Blended Learning in Post-Secondary Education

Doug Reid (Grant MacEwan University, Canada) and John Ewing (University of Alberta, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5472-1.ch034
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Abstract

Two university education courses were converted from face-to-face delivery to a blended learning delivery model. Ideally the conversion took place to leverage new pedagogical understandings and new technologies to improve student learning. The redesign of the courses also came about for economic and scheduling reasons. The result of this conversion was the creation of two new blended learning courses that were designed to be learner centered, constructivist, and reflective. In theory, two different courses were created demonstrating the possibilities available when applying theoretical practices to course redesign. In practice, this allowed pre-service teachers to experience a pedagogically appropriate course that they can use as a model later in their own professional practice. It also emphasized the importance of giving learners control of their learning, their time and valuing their input into course design.
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Introduction

The research began at two different universities by two different instructors teaching two different university courses. The instructors were challenged to examine their own teaching practice in light of current research into Learner-Centered pedagogy (Harris and Cullen, 2008) and teacher reflection (Marcos & Tillema, 2006). Their experiences came together when both met and began to discuss new challenges faced in teaching in their respective university settings. Both instructors had backgrounds in the field of education. Both had also completed their PhD’s in respective fields, which examined the impact of emerging technologies on teacher practice. One focused on the daily routines of face-to-face impact on teacher practice as technology came into the classroom, while the other focused on the impact of teacher practice related to online course instruction. The two worlds now came together as they discussed similar questions that they were now facing. The initial discourse was drawn from the discussion found in the book, Technopoly (Postman, 1993). Postman challenges the reader by asking central questions related to technology use in society. It was this debate that challenged the currently existing practices surrnding the two courses in this study and as areas were identified provided a vehicle to form the basis of considerations in planning and implementing of future course iterations in their respective universities.

The action research began in earnest when the two instructors were challenged to shift from a face to face delivery into a blended model of instruction leading towards fully online course delivery. The following section provides the details into the unfolding of the study.

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