Dr. Jane Owenga
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya
Thanks to blended learning, a big reprieve to lectures and students who may not prefer or have all the time for the traditional classroom learning! Blended learning offers great opportunities for lecturers to enjoy flexible teaching experience, while students enjoy learning experiences that is so friendly, learning while in relaxing mode! Achieve long term memory as they engage many senses during learning; enjoy learner centered learning experiences as they actively get involved in interpreting videos, images and photos and get instant marks when they take a test. Following Technology-Enabled Learning workshop supported by the Commonwealth of Learning, the TEL champions in Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology now possess knowledge and skills in:
- Blended learning design and development
- Adding resources and activities online i.e forum, quizzes, discussions, chats, files, books
- Facilitating online discussions, workshops, chats
- Creating self-videos for teaching
- Varied strategies for online information search, such as: Open Education Resources, Google advanced search, MOOCs, Social media search
- Calculating Gunning fog index for content created to ensure their suitability for the audience
- Applying Blooms Taxonomy in the development of learning
- Creating several online course assessment tools i.e quizzes and assignments.
However, the implementation of blended learning has its share of challenges. The older staff do not embrace it easily; lecturers also find it cumbersome to develop online content. Some lecturers also see it as a threat to their job when they share their content. Yet others need financial incentives in order to develop course material.
As for students, some in the final year did not want a change in course delivery or assessment stating that its coming too late into their programme. My fourth year class appreciated the additional materials, but were not comfortable with the online test. The class was also too large for the e-learning lab, so I mostly employed WhatsApp to share the videos, images and photos which the students would watch out of class and discuss. They would then present their interpretation of the materials in class. Some students had technophobia and would not like anything to do with online work.
It’s my sincere hope that going forward we shall overcome the challenges and enjoy the full benefits of blended learning approach to teaching and learning.