What are the benefits of blending my course?

Last Updated: Wed March 22, 2017

What does “blending” a course mean?

When people talk about “blending” a course, they are usually referring to the concept of “blended learning.” There are a variety of definitions and models for the concept, but the Blended Learning Fellows have established the following campus definition:

“At UW-Madison, blended learning courses are instructor-designed and supervised environments that use face-to-face and technology-mediated channels to enhance interactive, engaging learning experiences and to improve student learning outcomes.”

For the full definition, models and additional resources, visit the What is Blended Learning section of the Blended Learning Toolkit.

How does blended learning benefit students, faculty and the institution?

There are many reasons to use a blended learning approach in course design. Before starting a course design process, it is useful to stop and reflect on the reasons and desired goals for such approach. The following are benefits of blended learning by audience:

Students

Instructors

UW-Madison

  • Improves ability to personalize learning
  • Increases flexibility in course scheduling
  • Enhances student engagement and interest in the course material
  • Creates learning communities across time and geolocation
  • Builds time management and organizational skills
  • Cultivates proficiency in the use of technology
  • Inspires more responsibility and self-discipline for learning
  • Improves pedagogy used in course by increasing the level of active learning strategies, peer-to-peer learning strategies, and learner-centered strategies used.
  • Provides flexible scheduling and delivery of information by “offering a mix of traditional and technology mediated channels to provide more options for non-traditional students.” (Graham, 2005)
  • Supports campus priorities around active learning and educational excellence
  • Increases cost effectiveness and efficiency by finding solutions that are more cost-efficient than the current, traditional teaching methods.
  • Extends time and stretches resources.
  • Has the potential to expand the reach of effective teachers.
  • Redirects “seat time” from classroom-only to include online and field work that supports course and campus objectives.

What resources are available to instructors who want to start blending?

DoIT Academic Technology’s Faculty Engagement service offers two programs and online resources to support blended learning on campus, which include:

  • Blend@UW: A program that supports the Educational Innovation Initiative by helping faculty and staff redesign courses to be more active and engaging by using blended-learning approaches. One-week sessions are offered during winter and summer.
  • Blended Learning Fellowship Program: A year-long program to develop campus leadership around the topic of blended learning
  • Blended Learning Toolkit: The website provides tutorials, resources, and examples about blended learning and how to apply it to your course. In addition, additional services and programs relevant to blended learning are listed.