Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Quality Assurance in Blended Learning

Focusing on this week's readings from my blended learning course, many questions need to be not only investigated, but also answered regarding my upcoming development and delivery of blended instructional courses. First, the question of following standardized rules and procedures for creating and instructing blended learning courses exist due to its location within the early stages of a product's life cycle. Second, instructional effectiveness was also questioned and must be addressed. The need for learners to transfer newly gained knowledge to real world applications is a critical issue for developing credibility of blended learning. Finally, a conclusion is offered for perhaps providing insight on how I may resolve issues and questions pertaining to standards and instructional effectiveness for blended learning courses.

In the reading, the lack of a formalized, authoritative body to oversee standards of blended learning was declared and discussed which translates into that the blended learning discipline is in the infantile stage and still evolving. This point was an important concern for me since I have previous experience in researching authority bodies such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) regarding the standardization of internet protocols, web development, and cyber infrastructure. The commonality between all three of these organizations mentioned is that they are formed as nonprofits, but more importantly, tax exempt public charities for the purpose of serving the general public. With this in mind, the formation of a nonprofit organization may be a possible solution for moving forward and developing standardized blended learning course development, best practices, and open source tools which also do not exist, but were mentioned as a major problem within the discipline. Furthermore, the question of efficiency and collaboration may also be resolved if a consortium of organizations networked together to share information and strategies under the helpful hand of a neutral and public serving nonprofit organization for advancing blended learning.

Besides the need for standards and a governing body, instructional effectiveness was a a major point realized from the week's reading. In my attempt to provide effective blended learning courses in real estate science and other disciplines, I plan to develop Google Docs forms for students to submit their feedback. Both formative and summative, student feedback during and after course delivery will be a key component for my instructional development because of their alternative perspectives will render new information outside of my instructional role. The other key component for my continued growth in delivering effective blended courses will be the requesting and collecting of peer review feedback. Peer review feedback may also provide ideal and timely information for improving blended learning course delivery since others may have already encountered the same issues within their courses.

In sum, my approach for developing and delivering blended learning courses covering real estate science will be a consistent, researched approach for helping students build new knowledge. Nevertheless, it is important as an instructor and researcher to stay abreast of the latest scientific research findings concerning blended learning by reading peer reviewed articles found in academic journals. Moreover, I will also pay close attention to other academic instructors' views and methods by perhaps subscribing to mailing lists, joining forums, and attending workshops involving blended learning best practices. Lastly, the academic community within the University of Central Florida will continue to be a main resource for me to lean on as I continue to develop and deliver blended online courses.