Blended Learning is more than just a benefit to teachers. The students benefit from Blended Learning too, but what do your students want from Blended Learning?
Students want clarity on what part of classwork is online and what is face-to-face. It is a best practice to either make all “types” of assignments online or face-to-face. Pick Discussions or Projects initially to limit the amount of front-end loading on your part and maximizing the usefulness for your students. You can provide more clarity to student (and parents) by creating a Help module too. Yes it is more work for you. And yes it is worthwhile.
Often teachers starting with blended learning evolve over the course of a semester or year, so one point of communication is important to keep students (and parents) updated.
The ability to predict what comes next is essential from training your students in blended learning. From my post Blended Learning, Make It or Break It: Students should reasonably guess what is coming next from the online portion of your blended instruction. For instance be predictable with: order/number/type of items in a module or unit, the types of items online versus face-to-face, submission guidelines, your expectations for their troubleshooting responsibilities. If your modules or units each have a similar number of items, representing a similar amount of work, your students will learn how to pace your online work as they do your face-to-face work.
You likely have to work up to a large selection of online content. Start by assessing where you are on the learning continuum and then think about how your efforts in building blended learning opportunities can make the biggest impact.
You are always asked for an extra, a new, a replacement copy of many things daily. Blended learning doesn’t change that, but it outsources it. You can train students (and parents) to go to your online presence for forms, copies, or news.
Students who are absent (physically or emotionally) can revisit information and extend their learning environment beyond your class hours and the classroom walls.
Some Learning Management Systems even let you customize (think IEPs, 504 plans) time allowed on assessments and chances to re-complete assignments/assessments.
That pressure you sometimes feel to get through content, the students feel too. Consider having past or maybe future content available to your students. You know some students are ready for different ideas at different times; content availability within their control cannot be a bad thing. Students (and parents) appreciate that content is still important after an assessment, after completion, after due date. This is an excellent way to model that importance.
Based on what how ready your students are for blended learning, you may wonder how much content actually is online – check out my post on How Much Content is Online with Blended Learning?
They still want You!
Nothing replaces a good, caring teacher. Think of the things a good blended learning structure can offer you:
- less housekeeping/clerical tasks during class
- extended time for students to interact with your content
- practice of student digital citizenship in a safe place
- more time for quality interactions with your students!