Designing your blended course involves much more than "converting" the content of an existing online or face-to-face course. There are things for you to consider while you are adapting your course, but as always, please contact COLRS for assistance with any and all steps of this process.

  1. Start early.
    Begin preparing your blended course at least one semester before you plan to offer it for the first time. When the course does not have any online materials, this is especially important.
  2. Reconsider your role as an instructor.
    How will teaching in blended mode affect your role as an instructor? Zane L. Berge describes four roles for online facilitators that are helpful in blended learning models:
    • Pedagogical
    • Social
    • Managerial
    • Technological
  3. Focus on your course goals.
    What do you want your students to learn? What steps do you take to get there? How are these intermediate steps best facilitated? Or, how do you want them to learn it?
  4. Make the most of online.
    Sort through your content. What content works best online vs. face-to-face? What opportunities and projects will a blended course allow that might not be possible in online or face-to-face courses? Use each mode to its highest potential and ensure both you and your students spend your time effectively.

    Examine what is not working in the face-to-face classroom and see if it can be improved online. Consider what students can do independently. Many instructors find that online forums evoke more thoughtful dialogue from their students. You might also consider:
    • Discussion
    • Reflections
    • Readings
    • Remedial materials
    • Group work
    • Study guides
    • Podcasts
    • Case studies
    • e-Portfolios
    • Games
    • Course/module evaluation surveys
    • Self assessments
    • Lower-stakes quizzes and tests
    • Assignment submissions
    • Lecture notes
    • Lectures
  5. Make the most of face-to-face.
    Think about what is most engaging in the traditional classroom and retain that portion for the face-to-face experience. Often, this includes:
    • Labs
    • Demonstrations
    • Film clips
    • Student presentations
    • Introducing complex assignments
    • Group work
    • Role playing
    • Field trips
    • Conferencing
    • Editing and revision
    • Follow up on online discussions
    • Exams
  6. Keep them connected.
    Make sure to integrate the online and in-person portions of your class. They should feel connected and feed into one another, not feel like separate courses.
  7. Consider your students.
    Most likely, your students will not be familiar with how a blended course will function. Be sure to make expectations clear for both online and face-to-face components. Be specific and detailed about your expectations. Explain the crucial importance of time management, especially for the online portion.

    How will your introduce and acclimate your students to the technologies used in the class?

    Beware of "the course and a half syndrome." Coined by the Learning Technology Center at UW-Milwaukee, this phrase refers to the tendency for instructors to require more work in a blended course than either in face-to-face or online courses. How will you evaluate student workloads?
  8. Making the grade.
    How will you evaluate the online and in-person portions of the course? How will students receive feedback? How will students evaluate course modules and the course as a whole? How will you incorporate this feedback into the course development cycle?

Blended Learning Resources

Blended courses combine face-to-face and online course delivery modes to reduce "seat time" on campus and offer students more flexibility.

Blended course numbers are growing. According to Tony Picciano in the OLC/Sloan-C View (Volume 9, Issue 5), "It is a revolution that is going throughout higher education [...]. Blended learning has the potential to evolve into the dominant model of instructional delivery in higher education in the not-too-distant future."

Blended courses have design considerations that differ from both face-to-face and online modes. To create a successful blend, course goals and teaching and learning roles must be reconsidered.