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Mixing Online with Traditional Instruction: Funding Available to Develop a Blended Course

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 13, 2016) – Attention Faculty: If you have been thinking about redesigning a traditional course to incorporate more online learning, you have until January 29 to apply for funding to develop a “blended” course to be offered in the 2016-2017 academic year.

A “blended learning” course is one in which a significant percentage of the coursework is completed online outside of the traditional face-to-face classroom time. Classroom seat time is adjusted to reflect the addition of online teaching and learning.

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UAlbany has a history of promoting innovation in instruction through blended teaching.

“Blended learning is a term that has been around for more than a decade and a significant research base now indicates that well-designed courses that integrate classroom and online learning can lead to higher levels of student engagement, satisfaction, and improved outcomes,” said Associate Provost for Online Learning Peter Shea.

According to Shea, UAlbany has a history of promoting innovations in instruction through blended teaching, including a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, on which he was principal investigator. Through that funding, the School of Education and the Institute for Teaching, Learning, and Academic Leadership (ITLAL) partnered to promote the development of blended courses.

School of Education faculty member Jane Agee has had a positive experience with developing blended learning classes for master’s and doctoral students.

She found the students gained a deeper understanding of the material in primary texts, a comprehension of multiple points of views on topics, and a higher level of participation for all students, including those who were usually quiet in face-to-face classes.

“The manner of combining online and face-to-face classes allows them to blend together seamlessly,” said Agee.

She used video clips in a doctoral class to illustrate approaches to research and theoretical understanding. “With this blended model, the students achieved far more than they could have in a traditional face-to-face class, and the online site and discussions provided the less confident students and English language learners a comfortable way to participate,” she said.

Through the current RFP, faculty can learn about and develop an effective blended course and receive a stipend of $1,500 upon completion. The funding is being offered by the Provost’s Office of Online Teaching and Learning (OTL) in cooperation with ITLAL. ITLAL will host guest speakers, run face-to-face workshops, and manage follow-up activities to support effective blended course redesign.

Click here for more details on format, deadlines, and processes for applying for funding to develop a blended course. Contact Sheila Mahan (smahan@albany.edu) with any questions about the proposal process.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.