Welcome to Blended Learning!

Why Blended Learning?

Because it's the hot topic, right? It's true. There are many recent conversations in higher education and on our UW-Madison campus about blended learning, and our online workshop session on blended learning is meant to help foster this campus conversation and provide another framework for discussions on blended learning and best pedagogical practices for blended learning. We hope that this session will provide a forum where we all can share our ideas, challenges, innovations, experiences, and resources about blended learning in order to help each other nagivate the current discussions on the topic.If we're all talking about blended learning, why not bring many of us together in one Learn@UW course environment to talk about it together?

At the same time, blended learning (or the concept of blended learning) isn't brand new. Blended learning pedagogy and course design borrow keys ideas from good general teaching pedagogy: engage students with the course materials, make good use of the in-class and out-of-class time for the instructors and the students, design courses and syllabi based on learning goals and outcomes that you hope the students will achieve, and provide outlets for doing and sharing that effectively help the student reach these learning goals. In a face-to-face setting as well as in a blended environment, students won't learn as well if you don't engage them with the material and make them active participants in their own learning.

Blended learning also considers the "geography" of learning (where learning happens) and asks us as instructors to reconsider the traditional instructor-centered classroom. Blended learning initiatives ask us to reflect on, retool, and then reformat what is a classroom. Instead of the limited traditional classroom space, the blended learning environment leverages online and out-of-class spaces that respond better to the ever changing and ever evolving with the needs of the students. Blended learning models also help us to move outside of thinking of the lecture in only this very traditional, hour-long lecture format. The possibilities of the blended learning environment point to a more active classroom environment or online learning space that engage the students with the content material in an interesting, refined, and targeted way.

We're excited to have you join us for this discussion and are looking forward to the experiences, input, and resources that you'll bring to it. Let's get started!

Overview of this Blended Learning Session

Session Goals

This session is intended to be an entry point for how to become more familar with blended learning and how to get started with developing blending learning concepts that you can integrate into your own course design. We hope that most the materials here will be useful to instructors of all levels of familiarity with blended learning, and we have designed the course so that it will reflect this. You will find fundamental resources and materials (if you are just getting your sea legs with the topic), as well as supplementary and more advanced optional materials if you are looking to enhance your understanding of blended learning.

Each week will have particular objectives for that week, but our broader session goals are:

Session Design & Learning Pathways

Week 1 will start out with an introduction to and overview of key blended learning concepts and materials, and each week will provide a progressively deeper dive into blended learning pedagogies, design, and activity generation. We have mapped three learning pathways for all of our materials, depending on how you will consume or interact with these materials. These pathways are:

Observe & Consider symbol  Observe & Consider       Share & Connect symbol  Share & Connect       Practice & Apply symbol  Practice & Apply

You will see these learning pathway symbols throughout the session to tag the various materials and activities so you know what to expect. If you are new to the online workshop series, we recommend that you visit our introductory session to learn more about these pathways of learning, how they will structure each session, and other background information for the online workshop series (like who your facilitators are). You might also want to check out Module 1: Online Discussions or Module 2: Media Arts Production from Fall 2012 to get more familiar with the format of this session and series.

Though the session is structured by weeks and paced so that each week builds upon the previous one, you are welcome to move through the session at your own pace and on your own time. Once a week is closed, we will no longer actively be moderating and facilitating discussions and activities for that week, but you are still welcome to post, participate, contribute, and work through activities from that week on your own. As always, please contact us with any questions, too.


The readings for this session are ones that we have collected and curated over time, based on our past experiences with blended learning. We have added any new readings that might be especially relevant to current campus discussions on blended learning or to this workshop session in particular. The podcasts and intro video were developed and produced exclusively for this session by L&S Learning Support Services Media Production. The campus speakers videos were produced by L&S Learning Support Services Media Production in Summer 2012 for the UW-Madison Educational Innovation campus initiative.

Projects & Activities

The activities are designed to gradually help you become more famiiliar with blended learning concepts and design as the session progresses, moving toward helping you to develop actual course activities and blended learning mini modules that you can implement in your personal course in Weeks 3 & 4. As we move through the weeks, these activities will also become more complex; we will start with some word association and other discussion activities in Weeks 1 & 2 and move toward course design and activity creation projects in Weeks 3 & 4. That said, these activities are blueprints and suggestions--you are welcome to do part, most, or all of each activity or to modify as you see fit or helpful to your instructional situation. You are also welcome to develop each activity further than the "assignment" suggests, either for your own personal benefit or to share with the group.

For each online workshop session, we plan an in-person brownbag for Week 4 of the session (announcements always via the News and Calendar on this site and email notices). Because this is a blended learning session, we will also invite you to various other in-person events throughout the session in order to simulate or model an actual blended learning environment with the combination of online and face-to-face interaction. Please join us for any of those that your time allows!