The University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, FL and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in Washington, DC, in collaboration with twenty AASCU member institutions, were funded by the Next Generation Learning Challenges as a consortium under the Wave 1 Blended Learning challenge area.
Our project proposes to expand adoption of blended learning to twenty participating AASCU member institutions by developing and disseminating this “Blended Learning Toolkit” based upon the proven best practices that have been successfully implemented by the University of Central Florida. Included in this Toolkit are strategies for blended course design and delivery, open educational resource blended course models in Composition and Algebra, assessment and data collection protocols, and “train-the-trainer” materials and workshops. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has recruited the twenty collaborating institutions and will use AASCU networks and conferences to work with these institutions on blended learning implementation, while at the same time widely distributing the Toolkit and course models to its 420 member institutions and systems.
Because the Toolkit is openly available through a Creative Commons license, any interested institution or faculty member may access and use the included resources. The project team invites any interested institution or faculty member to contact us to join the project and access additional resources and training materials.
The Toolkit and course models will be provided to twenty AASCU member institutions, each of which will deploy one or more courses (either directly using the Composition and Algebra templates or building other high-need courses by using the strategies and resources contained in the Toolkit). These twenty institutions enroll over 250,000 students, including 33% low-income and 75% 25 years old or under.
The project will connect the twenty AASCU member institutions to a community of practice dedicated to curricular reinvention through technology. Faculty in these institutions will work with each other and with UCF faculty and staff to redesign the model Composition and Algebra courses. UCF’s team of faculty and blended learning experts will work with their peers at the participating institutions to help create a “bottom up” buy-in of blended learning, using the Toolkit and model courses to jump start adoption and rigorous assessment to prove efficacy.
At the same time, AASCU’s unique position of influence among its network of members will allow the project team to help their participating institutional presidents and provosts understand the strategic value of blended learning, leveraging UCF’s positive student learning outcomes and ROI as context. To assure the success of this project and institutionalization of the blended strategies, the project team will work with the provosts and other institutional leaders to address issues such as faculty engagement, support and scheduling services, etc. Without attention to policy and structure, the efforts at adopting blended learning strategies will not be as successful. The focus on institutional leaders will encourage broader adoption of the blended learning model beyond the immediate scope of this project.
Far too often, course redesign occurs only in a single course or even single section, leaving the institution substantially unchanged. We believe that blended learning can be a vehicle for broader and sustainable institutional transformation by using a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches to course redesign.