My views on the blended course

 

The Internet has made its way into classrooms around the world. As time passes by, it is more common to see entire schools adapting to on-line activities, such as reading articles from websites, sharing less with friends, giving feedback on portfolios, and posting compositions in platforms. In this Teaching Development Course, it was not any  different and I believe this e-learning technique was the highlight of my entire Casa Thomas Jefferson experience so far. Since, for now, there has been nothing like it in any other semester of the T.D.C., it is of extreme importance that this blended course not only survive but also spread over the semesters, making it a natural environment where students and teachers can learn a lot from each other and from this amazing tool called “the Internet”.

Initially, I was not so sure about this whole idea of being in classroom once a week; however, it did not take me more than a week to realize it would result in a great experience. Writing the essays was incredibly fun, since there was constant feedback from my classmates and teacher. This way, all students were able to learn how to listen to different opinions, how to choose the correct words when giving feedback, how to be flexible enough to change what they are told to. Had it been a classroom-based course, all of that might not have been in our package, for it would all be concentrated in the hands of the teacher. Thus, this democratization was one of the greatest things the Internet brought to the Writing Course.

Besides, looking back at all the assignments, the time factor was equally important to the quality of my essays. The fact that I could, with ease, write, edit, and send my essays whenever I wanted to not only saved me time but also gave me a sense of freedom. Furthermore, when it came to sharing, having this on-line communication was fundamental. I could receive feedback as soon as somebody read it, being this right after I posted it or in the middle of the night, while I was asleep, which would never happen as quickly if this method had not been not implemented. There is no doubt that the amount of time we all had in this Writing Course contributed to all my drafts.

Some might say the blended course took a bit of the oral practice away from the students, since some of the classes that were supposed to be spent in the classroom were spent behind a computer. However, from now on, depending on how it is done, the verbal skills can also be developed in connection with the writing. For instance, a student has finished his/her essay and, instead of receiving textual feedback, he/she receives an audio file containing opinions and suggestions from his/her peer.

All of the points above only serve to show how important it is to have this blended course going on forever. The Internet’s influence will invade the classrooms anyway; so, the ones who use it for their benefit will be the smartest. Sincerely, I had never thought I would enjoy this course as much as I did. The online classes gave a big twist to the entire learning experience, and I cannot see the Writing Course happening without the Internet anymore. It was a real pleasure, XOXO.

Students’ benefits in blended courses by Juliana da Silva Mello

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People started using computers and the Internet to perform all sorts of activities. In that sense, education has also been incorporated to this online invasion. One of the popular class formats nowadays is the blended course, a mix of face-to -face and online class, which has been intensively adopted among many knowledgeable educational institutes. Much has been said about this kind of learning environment, for the good and the bad. What not to deny is that the advantages are many, for both students and teachers.

One aspect that helps blended courses to be so popular nowadays is the flexibility. Once blended classes are divided into class discussion and online work, students face another reality. This environment gives them the chance to adapt and create their own studying time. Some of them feel comfortable doing their tasks either in the morning or in the afternoon. It is a great way to arouse the sense of responsibility in students, having them develop their own schedule. Personally, this flexibility helped adapt and manage my schedules, both at work and at school. With this flexible schedule, I could balance the class day with my other duties during the week.

Another positive aspect of this type of class is the task production in the sense that, from one class to the other, there will be certain time available to think over the topics discussed in class and do the tasks proposed by the teacher in the face-to-face meeting. Some assignments asked and performed in class may not be as thorough and complete as the ones researched, prepared and reviewed by the student at home. It is favorable to students, who will have time to prepare their assignments with more dedication, as well as for teachers, who can use the opportunity to demand more of their students, once they have more time to dedicate to these tasks.

Despite these points mentioned above, blended courses may favor the isolation and lack of interaction between students and teachers. According to SchooX, a website which contains many topics about E-learning environment, outgoing people can feel challenged to withdraw their personal characteristics, while thriving to adapt to this online experience. In contrast to that, introspective students, who have difficulties getting along with others, find in the blended courses a way to participate in discussions and expose themselves more due to this evident distant the computers impose on us . They may feel comfortable to take part in all the tasks proposed and be more open to express their opinion.

Blended courses are here to stay. They were projected to facilitate people’s busy, demanding and tiring life style. These courses offer students the flexibility to attend (less) fewer face-to-face classes, which helps them insert this activity into their professional and personal life. Besides, blended courses facilitate the task(s) performance, once students have more time to dedicate to and enrich the quality of their assignments. They are a great tool for introspective people that can benefit from this physical distance to be more participative and express their point of view. The balance between face-to-face and online classes is a great way to promote education and reach students in and out of the classroom.