3 – Engaging

Engaging Learners in a Blended Course

The engagement of the imagination is the only thing that makes any activity more than mechanical.
John Dewey, Democracy and Education

Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.
Parker J. Palmer

About this chapter

Chapter 3, Engaging Learners in a Blended Course precedes the actual blended course design process by exploring the opportunities for and advantages of purposefully engaging learners by addressing both the mind and the heart.

From the guide…

To Do

Many chapters of this guide feature a “to do” item to help you focus your own blended course design:

By the end of this chapter, you will have made notes about specific assessment(s) for a single prototype lesson in your course design map. Your notes should indicate if these assessments take place online or onsite, and what you will need to do to build those.

Table 2.1

Some strengths and limitations of human versus content interaction:

Strengths Limitations
Human Interaction Emotions – Humans can connect on an emotional level (love, empathy, concern, etc). Humans can be very effective at conveying an excitement or passion for a topic that is contagious.Complex Diagnostics – Humans with content expertise are good at quickly diagnosing where problems are in a students learning. Patience/consistency – Humans are not good at repeating the same instruction and/or feedback over and over consistently. They get bored, lose interest and/or begin to make mistakes.Access/Availability – It is difficult for a person to multitask in a way that serves many diverse student needs at the same time. People also don’t want to be available 24 hours a day.
Content Interaction Patience/consistency – Computers can repeat the same instruction or feedback over and over exactly the same without tiring or making mistakes.Access/Availability – Content interactions can be available to the learner 24 hours a day, whenever the learner needs or wants it. Machines can multi-task to serve multiple students simultaneously. Emotions – Machines and/or static content aren’t agents that possess emotion so it is difficult to connect with learners on an emotional level.Complex Diagnostics – Machines are getting better at complex diagnostics – especially where large populations are concerned. But, they still have a difficult time diagnosing and providing feedback on complex learning tasks.

Using Online Quizzes

References & Readings

Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Borup, J., West, R. E., & Graham, C. R. (2013). The influence of asynchronous video communication on learner social presence: A narrative analysis of four cases. Distance Education, 34(1), 48–63.

Chickering, A. & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles of good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education. New York: Macmillan.

Graham, C. R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future directions. In C. J. Bonk & C. R. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of blended learning: Global perspectives, local designs (pp. 3–21). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer Publishing.

McDowell, J. (2011). Using asynchronous video technologies to enhance learner engagement with formative feedback. ALT-C 2011: Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate. Retrieved from eprints.hud.ac.uk/10888/.

Merrill, M. D. (2008). Reflections on a four decade search for effective, efficient and engaging instruction. In M. W. Allen (Ed.), Michael Allen’s 2008 e-learning annual (Vol. 1, pp. 141–167). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pfieffer.

Merrill, M. D. (2009). Finding e3 (effective, efficient and engaging) instruction. Educational Technology, 49(3), 15–26. Moore, M. G. (1993). Three types of interaction. Distance education: New perspectives (p. 19). New York: Routledge.

Moore, M. G. (2007). A theory of transactional distance. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (2nd ed., pp. 89–105). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.