Blended Learning

 What are Blended Learning Sections of English 101?

Is a BL section of English 101 right for me?

Blended Learning sections of English 101 have the same goals as the traditional English 101: Academic Writing course: students practice their skills in writing, rhetoric, and inquiry. Blended sections differ from the standard English 101 course in that they combine face-to-face and online instruction. Within the Blended course, both online and face-to-face classes include short lectures, hands-on writing activities, and peer collaboration. In the online classes, students view video lectures, contribute to discussion boards, and, in some sections, attend live virtual classrooms. In the face-to-face classes, students enjoy the same small, discussion-based environment that all English 101 students experience, using this time together for group work, in-class writing, and peer review.

 The format students encounter in blended sections of Academic Writing will vary by section. Some instructors use the asynchronous format exclusively for the online classes. This format offers students the flexibility to complete the assigned classwork any time before the deadline. Other instructors use the synchronous format for most “online” days, which means that online classes are conducted in a live web conference during the scheduled time (e.g., for a MW 9:30am-10:45am section, the Monday class meets online from 9:30am-10:45am).

 The flexibility of the blended format allows students to work at their own pace on asynchronous days: they can watch video lectures as many times as they like; they can take the time they need to read and contribute to online discussions, and they can complete the classwork in advance if they so choose. Because all of the online discussions are written, students give and receive a considerable amount of written feedback in blended sections, reinforcing the main learning outcomes of English 101.


Is a blended course right for me?

The blended format is an attractive option for many students because it allows them more flexibility in their schedule. At the same time, blended sections of 101 require a higher degree of autonomy than most undergraduate classes. Because there is less face-to-face time with their instructor and peers, students in blended sections spend more time working independently than they do in most traditional sections. To determine if a blended section of English 101 is a good fit for you, please consider the following discussion about student success in blended sections closely.

 

 Students who excel in blended sections:

  • Possess strong time management skills. Students need to stay on track with the pace of the course without the built-in structure of traditional classes that meet in person two or three times per week. It is critical that students make time for their blended 101 course in their daily schedule.
  • Feel comfortable participating in online discussions and communicating with peers virtually, outside of class.
  • Are confident in their reading abilities and are able to follow written directions to complete an assignment. Since a great deal of instruction happens online and through writing, students should be prepared to do a great deal of reading on a daily basis.
  • Are adept at basic technological skills such as using ELMS, sharing files, and accessing web sources. Successful students are also willing to learn new web applications and programs.
  • Are prepared to spend a significant amount of time online. Students are expected to log on to the course ELMS site 5-6 times a week.
  • Feel comfortable reaching out to their instructor by email and during office hours for clarification on assignments and additional support.

 

 For additional information, please contact Blended Learning Coordinator Lyra Hilliard at lyrahill@umd.edu