Richard Hoffman is the senior member of the history faculty, and for as long as anyone can remember, he has taught a course on the wars in Korea and Vietnam. Since its inception, the course used a traditional lecture format with a midterm and a final, but Hoffman has decided to redesign it as a blended course. Not knowing how to begin, he turns to Abigail Carson, head of the instructional design group. She begins by giving Hoffman a guide she developed that includes readings about pedagogical theories. They discuss the principles at work and how they apply to Hoffman’s course.
Carson asks Hoffman to identify the intended learning outcomes, and she shows him how to work backwards from those goals to learning activities that effectively support them. For example, one of the outcomes is an understanding of the differences in the social climate between the two wars. Carson helps Hoffman design activities that investigate media coverage of the wars, including news stories, music, TV, and poetry. To demonstrate their understanding, students will create multimedia resources—with considerable latitude in what they can include—that feature examples of social responses to current or historical events. Such a structure opens the door to using online resources and technology devices to collect material and craft it into a video, a song, an interactive graphic, or some other artifact. It also requires Hoffman to rethink how he assesses student learning. Carson suggests collaboration with the statistics and theater departments to highlight both the quantifiable nature of social response and various forms of that expression.
Carson and Hoffman discuss the implications of moving certain class sessions and activities into online venues. Carson describes what a student-centered design looks like and recommends open educational resources that are easy to reuse and often more current than printed texts. She shows Hoffman how the course design can accommodate a wider range of student skills and interests while meeting the learning goals. And she assures him that after the course is implemented, she will continue to provide support and help make adjustments along the way.
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