When I reflect on how I have designed the course that I teach, I realize that we have, to a large part, used constructive alignment (Biggs 1996) without even thinking about it. Constructive alignment is, to me, the core in designing courses for deep learning. That there should be an alignment between planning, designing learning outcomes, deciding learning and teaching activities, and determining which assessment to use seems quite obvious, but unfortunately this is not always, or even seldom, the case in higher learning. Other frameworks, such as that of Gilly Salmon or the ADDIE model, use the same theory. To me, there is really no difference between designing a traditional or online course in this regard – the course should be designed to match the previous knowledge and purpose of the students, and teaching activities and assessments should match the learning objectives.
I can see several advantages of adding an online component to my own course:
- the students can join teaching activities from home,
- future work places will require online meetings,
- students learn to collaborate with others without meeting face-to-face,
- students today are brought up in an online environment and feel “at home” with technology.
The idea of blended learning appeals to me as it allows students to practice face-to-face meetings but also allows for time to reflection in text-based communication (Vaughan 2013). My course is for medical students that in addition to learning anatomy, histology and physiology also need to practice face-to-face interaction with other human beings since this will be a large part of their future career. With that said, this group of students cannot go to an online learning environment alone.
After the ONL course, I have two concrete examples that I will use in my own teaching:
- The use of chats or videos to initiate a topic (stage 1 Gilly Salmon). I believe that this could help my students to become interested in a topic and to start reading the texts that we want them to read.
- We have a lot of group work that sometimes doesn’t work as well as it should. I found that throughout this course, the use of a facilitator for each group can help to motivate all group members to contribute and to catch issues before they become big problems.
jclarkgardner (2011, June 11) ADDIE Model Instructional Strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL20E84CD77B301A20
Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Retrieved 2016 November 8 fromhttp://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html
Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”. PDF available here.