Preparing Teacher Education Students to Use Instructional Technology in an Asynchronous Blended Course

Preparing Teacher Education Students to Use Instructional Technology in an Asynchronous Blended Course

Hua Bai (Northeastern Illinois University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3068-8.ch031

Abstract

This chapter reports a study that examined the effects of an asynchronous blended instructional technology course on teacher candidates' learning. In this course, the online components and the face-to-face components were blended in a unique way. The limited number of face-to-face meetings were mainly dedicated to course introduction and the students' group presentations. Overall, the students perceived that the online learning activities were effective in helping them to learn about the instructional technology. They were satisfied with the blended mode of this course and reported strong self-efficacy in technology integration. Implications in course design, online interactions and group work in blended courses were discussed.
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Background

Many definitions of blended learning are available in current literature. A commonly accepted definition is that blended learning is “thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences” (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008; p. 5). In blended learning, the mix of face-to-face and online components varies for each course due to “instructional goals, student characteristics, instructor background, and online resources” (Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003; p. 228). Some courses have more face-to-face meetings than online activities, while some other courses include more online sessions than face-to-face meetings. There are also some courses in which online components and face-to-face components are of equal proportion. Despite how face-to-face and online components are mixed, blended learning takes advantage of inherent benefits of online learning and face-to-face learning. In addition to the flexibility in time and location and the freedom to work at one’s own pace, the benefits of learning online include elimination of misunderstanding caused by poor verbal communication, avoidance of peer distractions, reduction of challenges resulted from cultural differences, development of time management skills, critical thinking skills and computer skills (Lei & Gupta, 2010). These benefits, along with strengths of face-to-face learning in social interactions, make blended learning be predicted as “likely to emerge as the predominant model of the future – and to become far more common” than either purely online learning or face-to-face instruction (Watson, 2008; p.3).

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