Dean Bradshaw (Literature)
Creating an i2 Flex (hybrid) course for an honors level senior course has been at times frustrating and challenging but always rewarding. By dedicating my time toward developing the on-line component of our course, our work has become more efficient and organized. The course’s calendar has become clearer to the students and to me. With this clarity, more responsibility has fallen onto the students. No longer can misunderstanding or ignorance be an excuse.
My assignments have also been forced to be more detailed. Students need to work independently outside of school; and therefore, the learning activities must be completed without my verbal clarification. The new sense of organization needed in both schedule and assignment creation has made our class function at a higher-level as less time is devoted to questions of understanding and more time is given to questions of analysis.
Allowing more creative learning activities to occur outside of class has had two key benefits to this course.
- One, the materials I can use are infinitely more varied. I can link to a video or an article without worrying about how to present it during the class period
- Two, the depth of our face-to-face discussions has increased. Freed from having to dedicate precious instructional minutes to things more easily viewed or read at home, our class time has become a dynamic place of shared ideas, deep insights, intellectual debates, and meta-cognitive thought exercises
Students can practice skills with me guiding them rather than practicing them at home and only receiving my feedback. Students can read, write, speak, listen, and research with me at their side as adviser and coach. In short, students can work independently but we can learn together.