Changed learning environment and teacher role
There has been much speculation about how higher education in Sweden, and the world, will look after the pandemic. Lund University is a campus university, and it is essential that students and faculty are allowed back on campus to reap the benefits of meeting in person.
At the same time, there is no denying the many positives brought by the transition to digital teaching and learning. The question posed to us as a university is: Which practices from the pandemic are worth continuing, and how is it to be done? Recent research provides support for the notion that blended learning, when used correctly, can help raise the quality of higher education, and facilitate widening participation.
Making digital teaching a part of on-campus courses has several benefits. When students are allowed to engage with the course material in different forms, and on times of their own choosing, it can support different styles of learning, it lets students return to things they found difficult, and it facilitates iterative learning. Another obvious upside with digital tools and methods are that they tend to be independent of space and/or time. Time spent with students on campus is a precious commodity, and by moving parts of courses online teachers can make better use of the time spent on campus. Lastly, we should not underestimate how the pandemic will have influenced the expectations of future students. Current and future students will expect that course content, to some degree, is available regardless of time and space.
However, making the transition to blended learning cannot mean that teachers are expected to produce 1,5 course every time. It is not sustainable to have teachers produce online course material to some students, in addition to teaching a full course on campus.
The way forward lies in viewing teaching as something more than giving a lecture on campus, and our learning environment as something that encompasses on-campus activities as well as learning platforms and digital tools. As a rule, learning activities should always be relevant to intended learning outcomes, but how those learning activities are designed is open to interpretation.
Blended learning or hybrid teaching?
- Hybrid teaching means that you have the students both online and on site at the same teaching opportunity.
- Blended learning means that you switch between different forms of teaching (online and on campus) during an entire course.
Hybrid teaching can be a solution to a problem caused by Covid-19 and blended learning is an educational approach. Many of us will have reason to implement both now that we are in transition.