Implementing blended learning: Policy implications for universities
Contributor(s)The Pennsylvania State University CiteSeerX Archives
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AbstractThe incorporation of new learning technologies into courses at Canadian universities has been largely undertaken at the initiative of individual instructors, rather than in response to explicit institutional direction or faculty initiatives. This appears to be particularly the case with the migration of individual courses that were formally entirely face-to-face to blended delivery. In this case study, the experience of one university is used to present the types of academic policy and process issues that arose during a pilot project to re-design a single graduate program in order to facilitate the use of blended delivery. Considerations included why and how blended learning was to be used; at what level decisions regarding blended delivery should be made; decision process for individual courses versus entire programs; policy precedents and need for policy modification or new policy. Specific areas examined include course and program approval, resources, and instructor responsibilities and workload. The findings suggest that the work involved in policy updating in a changing environment is important because it surfaces, and opens for review, existing, often taken-for-granted institutional values, norms, and protocols. In some cases, the articulation of these values and norms serves to highlight the importance of respecting them within this new learning context. In others it suggests the need to rethink accepted protocols that may be ill-suited to the educational opportunities that emerging technologies can present.