Here is my reflective log on the final week of my FutureLearn Blended Learning Essentials course.  It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks.

The final week of the course focuses on how we can use blended learning to accommodate students whose needs are a bit different – those with learning disabilities, for example, or caring responsibilities.  I must admit that this is where my experience lies: part of the course that I’ve been teaching for Liverpool Hope has been a blended learning evening class that allows mature students to return to education, and I’m really pleased to have been involved.  They listen to recordings of all the lectures, with the accompanying powerpoints, on the course Moodle, and all the readings and other documents are posted there too.  Every other week is an online session that they can take part in from home, although several of them chose to go in to the college to use their computers and for the social aspect.  

Looking back on the last few weeks, I have to be honest and say that there are several big things I’ve learned and/or been forced to think about:

1. There is a lot more technology available to do exciting things for our students than I realised.

2. Using some of this technology would make our courses more exciting, but it is nevertheless subservient to the learning outcomes that it supports.

3.  Moodle has a lot more features than I realised, so I need to learn how to use it properly – this would make the student experience better and my life easier.

4. There are ethical issues surrounding blended learning, including the possiblility of widening the gap between students who have access to technology and those who do not, and whether it is right to force students to have an online presence in order to complete our courses.

5. Technology allows us to be flexible in the provision of materials, enabling students with different needs to access education.

6.  Overhauling an entire course to facilitate blending learning would be a big undertaking.