I’m writing a textbook

I haven’t posted a blog post recently, so I thought I would post a short update about what I’ve been doing. West Chester University has awarded me a sabbatical leave to work on a new textbook on broadcast performance. The working title is On Air: Effective Announcing, and is scheduled to be published by Cognella Publishing in 2018.

Because I’m spending most of my time working on this book, I probably won’t be posting to my blog a lot this year. My goal is to have a working draft of this textbook later this year to use in my broadcast performance class.

The Promise, Perils and Progress of Educational Technology

Below is a draft of my prepared remarks for the EduFan panel at D2L Fusion 2016. I actually didn’t read these remarks; rather, I extemporized my remarks in order to respond to the prompts of the moderator. But I was able to bring most of the points I raised in my prepared remarks (as well as quite a few more) during the panel. My comments seemed to be well-received by those in attendance.

First let me say thanks for the chance to speak on this panel. I’d like to thank D2L in particular for recognizing me as an EduFan. It is a distinct honor, and I look forward to seeing how the EduFan idea evolves.

And I’d like to thank the moderator for giving a mostly positive spin to the title of this panel: “The Promise, Perils and Progress of Educational Technology.”  While there may be some perils, I think most of us here at Fusion are likely to focus on the promise and progress of educational technology. And that includes me. For over 30 years, I’ve been a college professor who has embraced technology in my teaching and scholarship, evangelized the broader use of technology by my faculty colleagues, and encouraged my administrative colleagues to more fully consider the academic benefits from investments in technology. Drawing from that experience, I’d like to share with you today one simple principle and two practical suggestions.

The one simple principle is this: educational technology is primarily an academic resource, rather than a physical resource. Embracing this simple principle sounds easy enough, but in practice, the physical essence of the hardware and software behind educational technology can make it difficult to see beyond its nature as a physical resource.

Not that there’s anything wrong with physical resources. Every institution of learning has physical resources, like chairs and desks, file cabinets and lighting fixtures, doors and windows. But the windows in my office are quite different from the Windows running on my laptop. Actually, I’m more of an Apple fan myself, but that’s another story.

The point is while we need physical resources in education, we also need academic resources, like books and journals. To be sure, books are also physical resources. You can count them and hold them and store them. But books are primarily academic resources. They have value well beyond the value of the physical paper and ink. Indeed, books don’t have much value at all until they are opened, and read and engaged with as part of the learning process.

And so it is with educational technology. Yes, at one level it’s a physical resource. You can measure it in gigahertz and terabytes, calculate return on investment, analyze costs and benefits. You can treat it as a physical resource, but in my opinion, that’s mistreating it. In an educational environment, technology should be seen primarily as an academic resource. And the investment, management and deployment of that resource should be guided by that one simple principle.

Which leads me to my two practical suggestions. First, I believe the chief information officer of a university should ideally be an academic officer. In practical terms, that means moving toward the norm where the CIO of a university will hold the title of vice-provost rather than vice-president. If we accept the principle that educational technology is primarily an academic resource, then I think the top leadership structure needs to reflect that, in name as well as in practice.

Fortunately, I think we’re making good progress on this front. I’m encouraged by the growing number of university CIOs who not only have academic backgrounds and credentials, but hold academic posts, like the vice provost at West Virginia University, the associate provost at St. Bonaventure and the senior associate dean at George Washington University. And these are just a few examples of universities that clearly see the important role of academic leadership in technology. But even where CIOs aren’t formally recognized as academic officers, there tends to be a growing expectation that the technology leadership of a university unequivocally embrace its academic mission and priorities.

And in part, I think we can thank libraries for that. After all, we have long recognized library resources as academic resources, and library directors have traditionally been seen as an important part of the academic leadership of a university. Which leads me to my second practical suggestion: tenured faculty positions in educational technology. Just as it’s fairly common to have tenured non-classroom faculty in libraries, I hope it will someday be the norm that we’ll see tenured non-classroom faculty lines specifically in educational technology.

Now I realize this second suggestion may be a tougher sell, but it makes more sense if ed tech divisions are headed by academic officers. This will allow the development and implementation of tenure and promotion policies for academics whose primarily responsibilities lie outside of the traditional classroom. It may seem a bit far-fetched, but again, think of the library faculty who already achieve tenure and promotion, often without teaching a single class. Surely, if having tenured faculty in libraries is seen as an important part of the management of their academic resources, why wouldn’t we also see having tenured faculty in educational technology as an important part of the management of that kind of academic resource? Think of some of our brightest instructional designers, many of whom have advanced degrees and classroom experience. What if they could achieve tenure? What if they could serve alongside other faculty in policy deliberations and curricular committees? Consider the possibilities of educational technology divisions that see faculty as colleagues and partners, rather than as clients and consumers.

In conclusion, I believe the simple principle and two practical suggestions I offered today could lead to a paradigm shift in education, one that could help us more fully realize the promise and progress of educational technology.

Balance in Blended: Reflections on Teaching Hybrid Lecture Courses

At the 2014 Broadcast Education Association convention, I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel entitled “Flipped, Blended or Hybrid: The Use of Emerging Technologies in Large and Small Classes.”  Below are the slides from my presentation, and my prepared remarks.

Good morning. It’s a pleasure to be on this panel on what I like to call hybrid learning. Of course, not everyone calls it that, which is reflected in the title of this panel. Some call it flipped learning, and others like the term blended. But I think a good case can be made that the term hybrid more accurately describes the kind of approach I’m discussing today.

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So I’d like to begin by taking a few moments to make the case for the term hybrid. Then I’ll present a very simple model for thinking about how to achieve balance in a hybrid course. I’ll briefly describe my experiences in hybrid course development, and provide some specific examples. And finally, offer some suggestions for making the most of a hybrid course.

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At first glance, the terms flipped, blended and hybrid may seem interchangeable. But I think there are some subtle yet important differences. When I think of the term blended…

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I think of a blender, which is a great device for creating smooth refreshing beverages. But when we combine in-class instruction with online learning, I hope we’re doing more than just creating an homogenous cocktail of instruction.

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When I hear the term flip, I think of a very easy to use video camera that unfortunately is no longer being made. Or I think of one of those waffle machines you might see at the breakfast bar at a motel. Of course, the term flipped has become popular, in part because of the Khan Academy model of doing homework in class, a flipping of the more traditional model.

But I believe that, especially in higher education, we’re doing more than just flipping or blending. We’re creating something new that combines the best of both online learning with classroom instruction. We’re creating a hybrid.

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I’ve been driving a hybrid car for many years, and it combines a gasoline engine with a battery powered motor, a combination that helps me get better gas mileage. But the real beauty of my hybrid isn’t just that it blends both of these modes of propulsion, and I hope it never flips over on me. No, what makes it a hybrid is the logic behind the combination. When I need to accelerate, the gas engine kicks in. When I’m scoping out a parking lot, I’m on battery power. When I’m pushing 65 down the highway, my car can draw from both gas and battery as needed. My hybrid car knows when to use the gas, when to use the battery, and when to use both.

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In a similar way, a hybrid course does more than just blend classroom instruction with online learning. It does more than just flip what used to be done in class with traditional out of class work. It draws from the strengths of both teaching modalities to move students toward their learning goals. And it’s that deliberate and thoughtful balance between the two modes that makes a hybrid course something more than just the sum of its parts.

Of course, there are different approaches to achieving that balance. We all have different experiences in the hybrid mode, and we all offer unique insights. So let me just briefly discuss my experience with the hybrid mode, and some of the insights I’ve gained.

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Over the past three years, I’ve been involved in three hybrid projects. First I was part of the team that converted a large lecture course in intercultural communication into a hybrid course. That experience led me to convert the lecture course in mass communication that I regularly teach into a hybrid. And this past year, I’ve been part of the public speaking hybrid course team.

In each of these hybrid efforts, a first step was to clearly identify the learning outcomes, and decide whether those outcomes would be best achieved using class time, or online learning, or some other approach, or a combination of methods. In other words, we considered the logic behind the balance of these teaching modalities. Let me illustrate this with a simple model.

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I think it’s helpful to divide the instructional components of a course – the things we do to advance learning – into three somewhat overlapping areas: those that seem to belong in the classroom environment, those that lend themselves to the online environment, and those that lie outside of both environments. For example, I often put major exams in the classroom, where I can more carefully monitor the testing environment. But shorter and less consequential quizzes are fine in the online environment. And I often have students read a textbook, so I would put that in the third category – neither in class nor online.

Note there is some overlap in the circles in my model. Some things can combine modalities to advance learning goals. For example, most of the hybrid courses I have taught are large lecture hybrid classes, so I devote some class time to lecture. After all, the class meets in a lecture hall. But at the same time I try to provide online content that complements and extends the in-class lecture mode. And I do that by creating short online videos that in many respects serve as the online equivalent to lectures.

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Let me give you an example. Here’s a brief clip from one of the first online videos students see in my mass communication class.

Now of course that’s just a brief sample to give you an idea of what I do. In this particular course, students watch about 80 of these videos.

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I’ve found that these online videos work best when they are presented in what I call an “online learning module.” Each module consists of a series of 6 to 8 short videos, and each of the videos are around 5 to 10 minutes in length. So it takes students about an hour or so to complete each module – about the equivalent of a class period. By breaking up the modules into shorter videos, it more closely reflects what I do when I lecture in the classroom. I don’t drone on for an hour. I try to stop every few minutes, ask if there are any questions, or ask students to discuss something, or ask some clicker questions. And I try to replicate this experience online.

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For example, I present the videos using a quiz format. That is, each video is on a separate web page with a few questions below the video. Students watch the video, answer the questions, and click the button to go to the next page in the sequence. This not only insures that the students watch the videos in sequence, but it also generates a score, which I can use as part of their grade. And just as I do at the end of most class lectures, at the end of each online learning module, I review the key concepts, and pose a discussion question for an online discussion forum.

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One advantage of online learning is the time flexibility offered by asynchronous content, so I think it makes sense to embrace that advantage. In my hybrid courses, I tend to avoid strict synchronous “appointment learning” in the online environment. Instead, I practice what I call disciplined asynchronous delivery. By that I mean that students must complete the online work during a clearly defined window of availability, typically a week. But students are free to spend as much or as little time as they want to complete their online work. Now of course, some students are going to spend the absolute minimum amount of time. But I’ve found that you can encourage them to spend more time if you make it worth their while. For example, I allow students to attempt each of the online learning modules as many times as they wish, with their score being the average of all of their attempts. I think this fosters mastering of the material. Further, our learning management system keeps careful records of the time students spend on task, so I can keep tabs on how much time students spend with online content.

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Speaking of time, I know I’m likely running low at this point. So in my remaining time today, let me just offer a few suggestions on how to make the most of a hybrid course.

First, try to create content that is both flexible and reusable. If you’re going to spend hours recording online videos, you might as well try to make videos that can go a few rounds. That’s one reason behind the logic of creating shorter online videos rather than longer videos. It’s a lot easier to update a five minute video than it is to redo a fifty minute video lecture. Shorter videos also enable the redeploying of content in different contexts. For example, we’ve been able to use some of the hybrid content we created in the intercultural communication course to create a Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC.

I think it’s also important to provide good audio in online content. You might have noticed that I used a bit of music at the start of the sample clip I showed earlier. I use a lot of music, both in class and online, because I want to try to engage the students both through what they see and what they hear. I use high quality microphones to capture my voice, and add audio processing as appropriate. I encourage my students to use headphones when listening to the online videos, so I want to make sure that the audio I create is “earphone worthy.” Perhaps it’s my professional background in radio that makes me more sensitive to this sort of thing, but from my experience, there’s much to be gained from paying attention to audio.

I think it’s also important to design online components that work well on small screens. As instructors, we often view our content on laptops or desktop computer monitors. But students are increasingly consuming online content on tablets and smart phones. So I try to keep these smaller screens in mind when I design online content. At the very least, that means bigger fonts, centering content in “screen safe” regions appropriate for a variety of possible aspect ratios, and testing content with a wide variety of hardware and software scenarios before deployment.

Finally, I’ve found that it’s a good idea to devote some class time to keeping students on track in the online environment. Let’s face it, students have a tendency to focus on the minimum requirements to achieve the grade they want. While it’s a good idea to convey those requirements through online communication, it’s even more important to take advantage of their attention during class time to reinforce what they need to do to succeed. One way I do this is by including a checklist as my very first clicker question in each class. The checklist identifies the specific things a student should have completed by that point, and I ask students to click A if they’ve done all of those things, B if they’ve done most, etc. Of course I don’t know if they are telling me the truth or not, but that’s not really the point. I’m trying to encourage them to engage in some self-assessment of their online efforts. I follow this up with a few additional reminders during class, including an end-of-class checklist – spelling out what I want them to do before our next class. I think these frequent reminders help students stay on track, and encourage them to maintain the discipline needed to be successful with online learning.

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I hope my comments today about achieving balance in the hybrid environment has been helpful, and I look forward to some discussion later on in the hour. If you would like to continue the conversation beyond today, here is my contact information. Thanks again for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you today.

On Defining Communication Research

One of my colleagues, Dr. Gina Castle Bell, has asked her students in our undergraduate introductory course in communication research to go on a “scavenger hunt” asking professors in our department for the answers to some basic questions about communication research.  Some of these questions are similar to those included in an activity that another one of my colleagues, Dr. J. Kanan Sawyer, has been using for years in one of the courses she regularly teaches.  Just as I found it useful to respond to Dr. Kanan’s students in a blog post, I thought it would be useful to do the same for Dr. Castle Bell’s students.  So below are the questions students are asking, and my responses.

•What is the difference between Communication & Communications?

For the average person, these two terms may seem  interchangeable.  Indeed, many of my students will say they are communication majors and in the next breath say they major in communications.  But for many who are serious about studying communication, there is a significant difference.

When scholars of communication use these terms, they generally use the singular term to refer to the process of communication, and the plural term to refer to the products of communication.  Communication is the process of creating and sharing meaning.  Communications are the tangible “things” produced as a result of that process, and in particular, the things produced by industries that make money by selling those things (like newspapers and magazines and movies) and/or sell advertising in those things.

Let me quote from my earlier blog post

The term “communications” typically is used to describe the products of communication: things like newspapers, radio programs, TV shows, films, etc. Within the discipline of communication, there are those who take offense when an “s” is added to the end of the term. This is especially true among those who don’t study media, since the term “communications” implies a focus on media and media products. In common use, when people refer to communications as a discipline, they typically mean some kind of applied media study, such as that offered by journalism schools and radio-TV-film programs. As you might imagine, I’m not too bothered by students who say they are “communications” majors, but some of my colleagues cringe when they hear that.

This last point, about colleagues who take offense at the term “communications,” reflects a fundamental belief by some scholars that studying the process of communication is a “purer” area of study then is the study of media products.  As someone who studies media, I find this bias toward process rather narrow-minded.  It reminds me of the heated but often pointless turf wars in the English discipline between those who teach writing and those who teach literature.  Quite often, composition teachers don’t get the same level of respect in English departments that literature professors enjoy.  I find it ironic that in the English discipline, the study of products (literary criticism) is often considered “purer” than is the study of process (how to write).

But in all honesty, this distinction between communication and communications is rarely made by the average person, or even the average undergraduate student.  And I can’t say I blame them.  Academics often take themselves too seriously.

•What is communication research? How would you define it?

Let my start by defining research.  Research can be defined as a systematic investigative process, where a scholar seeks to use broadly accepted methods for uncovering new information which can contribute to the effort of expanding public knowledge.  Research can refer to both the process of doing scholarly inquiry (i.e., to “do research”) and the results of that inquiry (typically, but not always, as published in scholarly literature, including books, journals and presentations at academic conferences).  I like to think of the “re” in “research” as suggesting a repeated form of searching for truth: scholars search for the truth, but more importantly, they “re-search” for the truth, searching again, and again, over and over, re-looking and re-examining their subject of interest, looking for any new bits of information that can increase understanding.

Defining communication is something I at least tangentially addressed in my earlier blog post.  And I’ve defined it above as “the process of creating and sharing meaning.”  Actually, I often give my students an even simpler definition of communication — the process of creating meaning — since I like to focus on the creative act of communication, and I believe that all meaning is shared (at least all expressed meaning is shared) so it’s a bit redundant to include “sharing” in the definition.  But it certainly doesn’t hurt to include the concept of sharing in a definition of communication.  After all, the Latin root of the word, communis, means “to share” (or literally, to make common) and is the root of other “sharing” words, like community, commonality, commune and communicable.

Stated simply, then, communication research is scholarly inquiry into the process of creating meaning.  But that’s still too broad to be of much practical value.  In practice, communication researchers tend to study different contexts for communication, such as interpersonal communication, group communication, organizational communication and mass communication.  Communication researchers also tend to vary in the methods used (more on that in the last question asked, below).  And communication researchers also vary in their devotion to expanding public knowledge; there are many applied communication researchers, especially in the communication media industries, who devote most of their work at expanding the private knowledge of their clients.

•What types of communication research do you study?

First, I’m going to assume that the real question here is not what types of communication research I study; but rather what kinds of communication research I have done.  After all, most communication researchers study communication, not communication research (although there are a few methodologists who primarily study research methods — who study how to study).

I suppose this would be a good place to reference my vita.  Professors often list all the academic work they do in such a document; it’s like an academic resume.  Of particular relevance for this question is the section entitled “Scholarly Publications, Papers and Presentations,” starting on page 6.  Here I list all of the journal articles, book chapters, research papers, and conference papers I have authored (or co-authored) during my academic career.

If you browse through this section, you’ll see that my research agenda has evolved quite a bit over the years.  When I was just getting started in academic work back in the 1980s, most of my research efforts focussed on broadcasting.  My very first formal research publication was the thesis I wrote for my Master’s degree back in 1983.  It was entitled, “Future Radio: Video Music and Its Effects on Radio Listening.” This study examined how the then-new medium of music videos impacted listening to music on radio.  MTV was just getting started back then, and a lot of people in radio were concerned that once people got used to watching their favorite music performed on television, they would listen to music on the radio less.  It sounds a bit silly now, but there really were people afraid that MTV would put pop/rock radio stations out of business.  My study concluded that in fact, just the opposite was happening: the more people watched music videos on MTV, the more time they spent listening to music on radio.  And indeed, MTV had a significant influence on the evolution of pop music radio during the 1980s and early 1990s.

The 1990s was one of my most productive decades in terms of what I would call traditional scholarship.  My vita lists nearly 40 different publications and papers during this decade.  Many of these studies looked at various research questions related to broadcast media, including one of my most quoted articles, “Enhancing the Electronic Sandbox” which examined student-operated college radio.  Other broadcast-related topics I researched during this period included shortwave radio news, local television news, and public broadcasting.

It was during this decade that I began to focus more on digital communication technologies, and the emergence of what back then was called “new media.”  This included a number of journal articles, book chapters and papers on the topic of “flaming.”  Most people aren’t even familiar with this word anymore, but the “flame wars” that characterized much of the online communication of the 1990s was fascinating to me, and this phenomenon occupied a lot of my research time back then.  I wanted to understand why people could be so rude to each other in online communication, and what specific factors contributed to such aggressive communicative behaviors.  My research led to a “social influence model” to help explain flaming, which was the basis for the chapter I wrote for the 1997 book “Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction in an Electronic Environment.”

During the first decade of this century, my research efforts became more focused on issues related to public broadcasting, and in particular, the efforts of noncommercial broadcasters in expanding their mission of public service to online communication.  I wrote a rather extensive history on noncommercial radio (for the book “The Radio Industry”) that some of my colleagues have kindly referred to as the most authoritative work on the subject.  I also did a lot of research into college radio, reflecting the years when I was chair of the Student Media Advisors division of the Broadcast Education Association.

My most recent scholarship has focused on the use of technology in teaching.  I’ve examined the use of clickers in large lecture classes, the educational value of online discussion, the use of social networks in education, and the use of music and recorded audio in lectures (something I’ve been doing for years in my introductory mass communication course).  And a lot of my work has looked at the trend of “hybrid” learning, which combines classroom instruction with online learning.

That may be a longer answer than most students want, but in reality, I’ve only touched upon a few of the highlights of my scholarly journey.  My research over the years has covered a lot of different areas.

•How would you explain the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?

The distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research are mainly at the methodological level.  That is, just about any research question can be approached from either quantitative or qualitative methods.  And often the best research efforts combine both quantitative and qualitative considerations.  I think our understanding of communication benefits from seeing things in terms of both quantities and qualities.

Quantitative research methods are fundamentally based on the counting of empirical data.  A quantitative research effort typically begins with a precise definition of what counts as a “unit” of data in the realm of interest.  Careful and deliberate observational methods are used to count those units, yielding various measures that can be documented and analyzed.  Rather than count every single possible unit of data, most social scientific researchers use statistical methods to make inferences from a sample from the data population, and the strength of those statistical inferences depends on random selection when drawing the sample.

A fairly straightforward example of quantitative research is audience measurement.  If you are a manager of a radio station, you want to know how many people are listening to your station, because you want to charge your advertisers a fair price for reaching those listeners.  The more people listen, the more you can charge for an ad.  Now unless you live in a very small town, you can’t ask every person who could be a potential listener whether they actually listened.  Instead, you randomly select people to measure their radio listening.  You establish precise rules for what “counts” as listening; for example, radio listening is typically measured in quarter-hours, and you count someone as a listener as long as they listen for at least 5 minutes out of a quarter-hour.  And you employ statistical methods for making inferences from your randomly selected sample of people to the entire population of the radio market you’re studying.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, focuses on identifying and understanding  observable qualities.  Rather than assuming that we can best understand something by breaking it down into countable units, qualitative researchers try to deeply understand as much as they can about the whole, in order to provide satisfying answers to “why” and “how” questions (as opposed to the more quantitative questions of “how much” or “how many”).  Qualitative research methods vary widely, but some of the most widely used in communication studies include ethnography, participant observation, case studies, and interviews.  Qualitative research methods are often employed in critical scholarship and cultural studies.

To continue with the example of the radio station owner, suppose he or she wanted to not only know how many people listened to the radio station, but also wanted a deeper understanding of the reasons they listen, and the environment in which they listen, and the functions radio listening serves for them.  In other words, to not just answer questions related to the quantity of listeners, but to answer questions about the qualities of listeners and “listenership.”  While these kinds of questions could be approached quantitatively, it’s likely that qualitative research methods would provide more satisfying answers.  A qualitative researcher might spend days or weeks just observing radio listeners in their “natural environment,” making careful notes of what they do, trying to capture every observable detail.  Building from this, they could compose a rich narrative of a “day in the life” of a radio listener.  Or perhaps interviews of radio listeners could be used to create a detailed inventory of their reasons for listening.

Now I have to say that I’ve greatly simplified the distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research methods here in order to provide a more vivid contrast.   In practice, quantitative researchers often count qualities, and qualitative researchers often seek to draw inferences from their specific observations to a broader population.

•Do you identify as asking more quantitative or qualitative questions?

I would say neither.  I have used both quantitative and qualitative research methods during my career, and I don’t identify myself in one methodological camp or the other.  I suppose if I was forced to make a choice, I would probably lean a bit toward quantitative.  That’s not because I value quantitative more than qualitative methods, but rather, because applied media research has tended to employ quantitative methods.   But in reality, I let the questions I want to answer drive the choice of method.

I suppose at a very basic level, people who are comfortable with math and statistics are more likely to use quantitative research methods, while those who hate math and prefer a good story prefer qualitative methods.  I’ve never been particularly uncomfortable with math; indeed, I rather enjoyed the math classes I had in college.  But at the same time, I recognize that a quantitative perspective can only take one so far in understanding the process of communication.  I think it’s a good idea for anyone studying communication to acknowledge the value of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and to be willing to use both to advance understanding.

BlendKit 2012 Reflection: Teaching a Hybrid Course with Desire2Learn

I’ve recently been participating in an online course for teachers called BlendKit 2012. This open online learning experience provides a five-week introduction to blended learning, or what some call hybrid learning. It is sponsored by the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with funding from the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC).

Essentially, a blended (or hybrid) course is one that includes both in-person, face-to-face instruction with substantial online instruction. Students in a hybrid course spend some time in a physical classroom environment, and some time in an online learning environment. It’s becoming an increasingly popular “middle ground” alternative between traditional face-to-face courses and online courses. I’m attracted to the hybrid concept because it encourages an instructor to consider what kinds of learning activities work best in a classroom and what kinds work best online, and design courses that take advantage of the best of both modalities.

Participants in BlendKit 2012 are encouraged to post blog entries about their experiences with hybrid learning. So I thought this would be a good time to post something to my blog that I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. This past summer, I had the privilege of presenting at the Desire2Learn Fusion conference. This annual meeting sponsored by the popular learning management system Desire2Learn brings together faculty, administrators, technical support staff and vendors for a few intense days of sharing, exploring and pushing the boundaries of online learning. My presentation detailed my experiences as part of the instruction team that used Desire2Learn to develop and deliver a hybrid course last year in intercultural communication. I’ve embedded the slides of that presentation below. Perhaps it will prompt some interest among participants in BlendKit 2012 who may be using D2L as part of a blended (hybrid) course, or thinking about doing so.