Balancing online and face-to-face teaching and learning activities

SHORT DESCRIPTION

The core of university course design is the selection and combination of Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs). TLAs may involve various types of interaction, either face-to-face or with and through media. Traditional media such as books are increasingly being supplemented with many types of online media such as short video presentations known as knowledge clips. Wageningen University introduced knowledge clips to several second-year Food Technology courses, partially shifting from face-to-face interactions to online activities that facilitate acquiring, inquiring and practising. Student questionnaires and a student group interview were used to reveal differences in student preferences towards knowledge clips and the other TLAs. Knowledge clips seem to be valuable parts of courses and work well in general, although students prefer to combine them with some face-to-face interaction. Besides individual preference, there seem to be two main reasons for this: (1) watching a large number of clips requires a considerable amount of discipline and a face-to-face meeting during the course is an intermediate goal to work towards, and (2) when knowledge clips are more difficult and raise questions, students prefer to work in a room with access to a teacher.

OBJECTIVE

Find out how to design courses with an optimal balance between online and face-to-face learning activities

STRONG POINTS

  • Learn from Wageningen University education innovation projects; to further improve education¬†innovation.
  • Innovation is monitored by large scale student evaluations in combination with student interviews.
  • Research is going on; the next articles will review all 10 second year Food Technology courses.

The questionnaires and interview show that the knowledge clips seem to work well in general. They also show that students prefer to combine knowledge clips with other TLAs. Besides preference, there seem to be two reasons for that: watching a large amount of clips requires a considerable amount of discipline and face-to-face meetings in between sets intermediate goals to work for. Also when knowledge clips are more difficult (e.g. explaining a calculation) and raise questions students prefer to work in a room with supervision.

The large standard deviations show that students differ in preference for all the online and face-to-face TLAs used in the courses.

RECOMMENDATIONS

When online TLAs (such as knowledge clips) are introduced, it is important that students receive guidance on how to work with them to reach the learning goals. In that way, students can become familiar with the new TLAs, decide whether a learning activity is useful for them to attend, and understand how to make effective use of it. Study programmes should slowly introduce knowledge clips; a sudden change from courses with only lectures and group work to courses with knowledge clips and digital learning material might confuse students in their learning strategies.

PRODUCTS

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