What is Blended Learning (BL)?
Blended Learning (BL) courses, also known as hybrid courses, are courses which combine the traditional classroom experience with an online learning experience. While a BL course requires the same time commitment as a regular course, course hours are split so that half take place in the classroom and the other half consists of web-based activity. The BL model recognizes that there are advantages to both face-to-face classroom and online environments. By introducing BL courses at FIT, the college aims to mix the strengths of both settings and, as a result, provide a new and meaningful learning experience. BL courses meet regularly in the classroom, but the semester hours add up to ½ of a regular course. The other ½ is spent on online tasks such as:
- participating in online discussion forums
- posting reports on independent activities
- using the Internet to research topics as assigned by the instructor
- taking a quiz using an online quiz tool
- watching an assigned video clip
The above activities are only examples of the types of work that may take place during the online portion of the course.
How often will my Blended Learning (BL) course meet face-to-face?
On the first day of class, your instructor will provide a schedule of times when you and your classmates will meet in person. While some BL classes may meet face-to-face every week (for fewer hours than a traditional class), others may meet every other week for a full three hours.
Is Blended Learning (BL) right for me?
If you are considering taking a BL course, you should remember that even though there is a reduction in hours spent in the classroom, BL courses are not easier than regular courses. Students must take responsibility for their independent work, and should recognize that it is very difficult to catch up once one falls behind in online activities. A successful BL student should have strong time management skills and be comfortable using computers and the Internet. Strong reading and writing skills are also very important in completing online coursework.
How computer-savvy must I be to take a BL course?
As a BL student, you should have basic computer skills and feel comfortable typing, using basic programs such as Word, uploading and downloading files, using e-mail, and browsing the Web. Some courses will require additional mastery of programs such as Excel, Photoshop, Access, or PowerPoint. Please consult the syllabus and ask your instructor if you have concerns about required skills.
Is there technical help available throughout the semester?
Yes. BL courses use the Blackboard Learning Management System, and the Open SUNY Help Desk is available to answer your technical questions. Students can contact the Open SUNY Help Desk at 1.800.875.6269 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
What equipment do I need to take a BL course?
It is not necessary to own a computer if you have access to FITís campus computer labs. The computer you use should have:
- An up-to-date browser, such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari
- A word processing application that has the capability to save files in the Microsoft Word or RTF file format
Some courses may have additional requirements, such as access to a scanner or digital camera. Please call the department offering the course for more information (contact numbers can be found on the FIT website).