What do we mean?
Online learning is when students are engaged in activities online, rather than engaging with them in-person, on campus. The online learning could occur synchronously (e.g. via a live Teams seminar) or asynchronously (e.g. via engaging with materials housed on Moodle).
Teaching in a blended environment
Top tips for teaching
The following tips are designed to help you identify key aspects of the blended learning environment. We emphasise the importance of seeing the purpose of any particular session, be it Live Online Interactive Learning or In-Person Teaching, within the context of the whole course. Not only will this help students to create links between the different learning elements, but it will better enable teachers to keep their planning and delivery, including the use of technology, straightforward and focused on clear learning outcomes.
- What do students need to know and be able to do by the end of their course?
- What is the role of the unit that you teach on in helping students to get there?
Above and beyond the mode of delivery, your expertise and experience of the knowledge and skills that underpin the intended learning outcomes is crucial to planning effective learning activity.
Identify how activity will build on, reinforce, or develop towards other learning and assessment across the unit or course. Our course-wide weekly planner is an effective means to show this big picture.
Draw on your previous experience to identify the sequencing and scaffolding of complex ideas and practices that students require.
Make this explicit to students before, during, and after the session - when students are able to see the reasoning behind teaching activities and recognise the purpose of the material being learnt, they are more likely to engage.
Develop your learning narrative and share it with your students. Take just 1 minute of a session to outline:
- what students will be learning with you and why, including which skills they will develop;
- links to prior and subsequent learning.
Make the most of the opportunity for your students to interact with you and with each other. This means designing learning activities that promote discussion and collaboration.
Run a practice session (e.g. an icebreaker) with the students if possible.
Stick to a clear learning focus (see Tip 3 above) and the minimum tools and technologies needed to enable this.
To help identify priorities for now try thinking about your teaching through our 'three Ts'.
Download the five-minute session planner - a quick way to map out the key elements of your planned teaching and learning activities. Keep it open when teaching so that you can easily refer back to the key aims and activities of the session.
It’s ok to make changes; ask staff and students to say what is/isn’t working well for them.
Don't plan too rigidly, as it is likely that your expectations for blended learning and teaching will change as you and your students grow in familiarity and confidence.
CASE in practice
Students’ experience of learning and teaching activity is consistent and structured across their course and individual units.
- Establish patterns of delivery across the unit and course and a shared understanding of how Moodle will be used to support student learning. Make these patterns visible. Good examples of showing basic patterns can be found in the Vanguards course structure documents and your own CT course structure documents. Add in your session types and assessment types/points for greater clarity.
- Set and communicate clear expectations to students about what they will be required to do online, and how staff will be engaging with them. Set the relevant expectations at the start of the course, each unit, and each week.
- Teach as a team and share resources and expertise. Create a Sharepoint site or Moodle page that the entire team can access.