Using Moodle™/Open LMS for hybrid delivery

A few weeks ago we introduced one process for developing hybrid courses identifying what environment may work best for the delivery of some common classroom activities. In today’s blog post we’ll highlighting how specific Moodle™ and Open LMS features can fit this delivery style and explore some of the potential benefits and drawbacks to blended teaching and learning.

Moodle™/Open LMS resources and activities

Once you have determined which of your activities are best suited for which mode of blended learning – online or face to face – it’s time to determine which of the Moodle™/Open LMS tools are best suited for the delivery.

Resources

Any of the resource modules in Moodle™/Open LMS can be used for course material including multimedia depending upon type.

  • Book is a great way to chunk large pieces of content. It can also be used as an interactive content creation system for students by importing HTML pages as a chapter that they can co-create during class time.
  • A label allows you to bring definition to the course home page while embedding multimedia. For example you may create a welcome video and embed it into a Label in the first topic. This is also a great way to update students weekly wrap up discussions or let students know about projects or activities that will be held at the next meeting.
  • Lesson lends itself well to simulations because of its “branching" nature. For example use it for role play and discuss in more detail during class. It can also be used as a tutorial reinforcing learning with embedded questions.
  • Pages can be used for more static information like a syllabus or class rules. This is a great alternative to using hard copies as it can be accessed from anywhere but can also be printed easily for those who absolutely need a hard copy.
  • URLs help point students to information within the course the institution website or on the Internet.
  • Folder and File are useful for documents that students need to have on hand or manipulate in some fashion. For example if a project requires students fill out a form while they are collaborating in the classroom they can print it out before class and bring it with them.

Activities

Activities in Moodle™/Open LMS are meant to be interactive and collaborative.

  • Advanced Forums lend themselves well to asynchronous type discussions such as after-lecture discussions online debates introductions a pre-class reading discussion case study discussions or even a student lounge.
  • Database allows teachers and/or students to build display and search a bank of record entries. The format and structure of these entries can be almost unlimited. You can use it to build a collection of web links books or journal references. After working in class students could upload photos or poems for peer comment and review. You could even create a log of face-to-face meetings for students who were absent either updated by yourself or by other students who were in attendance.
  • Wikis are great for small group collaboration and can be used for a variety of projects. For example small groups could create group lecture notes for their team for reference or it could be used as a way to manage a group project.
  • Glossary is another great collaboration tool. Use it to build student-created FAQs a dictionary of terms or resource listings. It can also be used as a simple peer-assessment tool for fast and effective feedback.
  • Workshop is the go-to tool for student project management and peer assessment that can be used for individual work or for group work.
  • Assignment can be used for essays or other collected work that is reviewed and graded by the teacher. It can also be used as a placeholder for offline assignments giving it the benefit of adding the assignment to the gradebook. For example students complete an activity in class then hand it in to you. You go into the gradebook and are able to give feedback and a grade for that offline assignment. Students benefit because they receive immediate feedback on their assignment. Alternatively students can individually or in groups submit work through the Assignment in Moodle™/Open LMS as text video sound file or image which expands the possibilities of what might be considered an “essay.”
  • Quizzes can be used for unit exams mini-tests at the end of a reading or topic exam practice immediate feedback for workbook activities or labs or even self-assessments.
  • Chat is a synchronous discussion tool. Set it up so that you can communicate with students or other faculty create question and answer sessions or even hold online office hours.

Potential benefits and possible drawbacks

Benefits

There are multiple benefits to blended learning.

  • Effective time management - Activities that take up precious face-to-face time like quizzes can be transferred to Moodle™/Open LMS so that classroom time can focus on lecture and class activities. Students also learn a valuable skill: time management. Once a calendar is added to the course they can easily track activities assignments and events.
  • Rapid feedback - Many of the activities in Moodle™/Open LMS offer feedback abilities. Additionally students can view their grades at any time rather than waiting until the next class meeting.
  • Develop learning communities – Community building activities to help develop a sense of connectedness between students and faculty. It also allows for a greater access to education for some students.
  • Reduce take home load - Assignments are housed in Moodle™/Open LMS so the teacher has less to take home. The student also has a reduced load and can easily find the assignments readings and other resources in one spot.
  • Green/environmental impact lessened -Time and money spent on ink and paper are reduced. Additionally gas and smog emitted by vehicles spending time on the road to school and back home again is reduced which lessens the environmental impact of the learning experience.
  • Student-centered - Teachers can focus on designing learning experiences that are tailored to their students once the burden of covering every single aspect of the curriculum during face-to-face classroom time is removed.

Drawbacks

Blended learning does offer some potential drawbacks as well that should be considered before moving to that format.

  • Rethink course design - Teachers must review course outcomes content and activities to make the decisions on how best to transform the classroom from face-to-face to a blended environment. A transition must be made from lectures to student-centered learning activities.
  • Develop new facilitation techniques - Facilitators have to look at traditional methods of assessment and determine how best to adapt them to the new learning environment. They also need to learn how to facilitate online discussions and small group work.
  • Manage two learning environments - Using two learning environments can cause scheduling and communication challenges.
  • Be the tech help - Facilitators will be first line of tech help for students who need help with the learning management system. Facilitators will need to prepare students working in duel environments to help them understand how to keep their work handed in on time.

To review part one of this blog post review Moving from Face-to-Face to Hybrid Delivery Using Moodle™. For more in-depth instruction on course design register for our Getting Started with Online Course Design online training course.

Happy re-designing!
~Tara

Carl

Carl

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