Using Web-Based Technologies and Communities of Practice for Transformative Hybrid and Distance Education

Using Web-Based Technologies and Communities of Practice for Transformative Hybrid and Distance Education

Nory Jones (University of Maine, USA) and Omar J. Khan (University of Maine, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-711-9.ch012
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This chapter explores the use of Web-based technologies incorporating communities of practice and social networks to enhance the learning experience in hybrid and distance (online) classes. Research suggests that using a variety of technologies and methods to reach people with different learning styles improves overall learning in a class delivery though different methods are more effective in traditional vs. online classes. Moreover, using new, emerging Web-based technologies, including both Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 software, further enhances the engagement and value of the learning experience in these classes. This chapter examines the methods and technologies that can be potentially used to create excellence learning environments in traditional hybrid and online classes.
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Hybrid Classes

A hybrid class is one where a professor offers a traditional class with regularly scheduled classes in a classroom with live students. However, the classroom doubles as a technology-enabled room which supports distance education. As budgets continue to shrink, administrators and faculty have recognized the value of providing hybrid classes to serve the traditional students as well as the non-traditional students.

Hybrid classes are also becoming popular in traditional classes as a form of supplementing the regular format. For example, in a study by Carnegie Mellon, they found a representative example of a statistics class where the professors created a web site with the class content and then held discussion sections after the students had studied the material. The results were positive, showing that the class took less overall time and the students had equivalent scores on the exams as in the traditional classroom (Timmer, 2009).

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