Choosing modes of course instruction and learning activities

Modes of course instruction

As mentioned above, there are 6 modes of course instruction. Except the “face-to-face” instruction, other five modes — classroom aids, computer labs/laptop instruction, web-enhanced learning,  blended learning, and fully online instruction — involves using certain technological tools during the instruction and could be considered as eLearning.
When deciding the delivery mode of your instruction, it is important to recognize that adopting eLearning is not just a matter of transferring/delivering a portion of your content/activities via some technological tools,  the web or Moodle.  When designing your eLearning and choosing the modes of the delivery, you want to consider:

  • Why are you making changes — Why do I want to adopt eLearning? (benefit of eLearning vs. face to face learning)
  • Which part(s) of the instruction should be online and which part(s) should be remaining face to face?

The selection of your course instruction mode will depend on:

  • Your evaluation of the benefits of each mode
  • What is available to you and your students
  • Your own ability and support that is available
  • Time and other resources for development
  • Needs and experience of your students

Key questions to select the course instruction mode are:

  • What types of learning activities will you design that integrate face-to-face and time-out-of-class components?
  • What means will you use to assess these integrated learning activities?
  • What are your expectations for student participation within and outside of the classroom? How will you configure and schedule the percent of time between the F2F and the TOC components of your course?
  • Do you and your students have the appropriate technology skills/experience required?
  • Do you have the appropriate time, resources, and support required by the modes of the delivery?
  • Will your selection of delivery mode be accessible for your students?

*Adapted from Garrison, D. R.  & Vaughan, N. D.  (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principals, and guidelines. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Teaching commons has developed a guide for selecting blended or fully online delivery.

Faculty Guide to Selecting Courses for Blended or Online Delivery

Design Teaching and learning activities

To design teaching and learning activities is to design how students are going to get where you would expect them to be.  Effective teaching and learning activities activate learning as specified in the learning outcomes. The effectiveness of teaching and learning in eLearning environments depends on the same factors as learning in general. Some general characteristics of effective teaching and learning activities include:

  • Active engagement of the learners
  • Appropriate motivational context
  • Well-structured instructions
  • Authentic and relevant tasks
  • Formative feedbacks
  • Reflective practice and self-monitoring

Teaching and learning activities include lectures, seminars, group work, projects, research, tutorials, debate, discussion, role play, experiment, simulation, studio work, etc., and their equivalent for an online environment. For example, a face to face discussion might be replaced by an online forum, or a project report with creating a web site or digital resources. Activities can be done individually or in groups. The effective eLearning would likely happen when there is

  • Appropriate resource and right level of support
  • Suitable  mode of delivery
  • An appropriate balance between different modes of delivery
  • Right learners
  • Right context

Key questions for designing the effective teaching and learning activities are

  • Will this activity actively engage the student?
  • Will the activity yield evidence of expected learning? Is the purpose of the activity clear?
  • Do students need to be supported to complete the activities? If yes, in what way and by whom?
  • Is the activity practical, i.e., can all students take part? Are there any risks?
  • Do you have the technology and skills required if activity is online?