EDUCAUSE Reboots Popular Blended-Learning MOOC with Partners Instructure, University of Central Florida
BlendKit2015 to provide free guidance, certification to faculty members and instructional designers seeking to combine face-to-face and online learning experiences
SALT LAKE CITY (January 27, 2015) — Technology company Instructure today announced that the BlendKit MOOC is back by popular demand. EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida (UCF) are bringing back the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Instructure's Canvas Network with “BlendKit2015: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer,” their second installment on the merits and methods of blended learning. The Blendkit2014 course was EDUCAUSE's first-ever MOOC, and it elicited a tremendous response from the higher education and K-12 communities.
“The power of online professional development is that we can collaborate and educate in real-time. BlendKit2015 leverages that power to advance strategic understanding of blended learning’s full potential,” said Julie Little, EDUCAUSE vice president of teaching, learning and professional development.
Blended learning, the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences, is growing in popularity in both K-12 and higher-education settings. Like its predecessor, BlendKit2015 was designed by faculty at UCF to explore the basis for blended learning and then guide participants with best practices and steps for constructing a successful blended experience.
UCF has a storied 20-year pedigree in online education. In 2011, a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant leveraged the institution's expertise to create a free, open resource to assist educators in developing or expanding their blended-learning initiatives. The core of the BlendKit course was created through this grant and, with the commencement of BlendKit2015, will have facilitated four full cohorts to date.
“As a practice, online instruction is still in its infancy, relative to traditional classroom methods,” said Tom Cavanagh, associate vice president of distributed learning at UCF. “Having two decades of experience in online learning puts our institution in a unique position to help our peers avoid the pitfalls we’ve experienced with it and fully realize their visions for novel modes of instruction.”
The five-week course includes:
- Expert and peer assessment and critique on design work
- Regular interactions with facilitators and students
- Blogging/social networking interaction opportunities
- Weekly webinars with guest presenters
- Document templates and practical step-by-step “how to” guides
- Readings from scholarly works pertaining to blended learning
BlendKit2015 will be facilitated by UCF Center for Distributed Learning instructional designers Rohan Jowallah and Sue Bauer. The course is free and open to any learners, who can also elect to participate in a low-cost certification track. This more rigorous option includes a full portfolio review and, upon completion, offers a certificate from EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida and a digital badge that participants can include on their EDUCAUSE profiles and professional/social networks.
“Courses like BlendKit2015 help educators, regardless of experience or position, to think creatively and innovatively about their teaching to ultimately improve student outcomes,” said Melissa Loble, senior director of Canvas Network at Instructure. “Open education courses such as this are bringing to the education community a wealth of opportunities for creating and accessing truly impactful professional development opportunities.”
The BlendKit2015 course begins Feb. 23, 2015, and registration is currently open on Canvas Network. More information can be found at www.canvas.net or by watching a short video that highlights the experiences of participants in past cohorts. Those interested in the course can also follow along on Twitter at #BlendKit2015.
Instructure, Inc. developed the Canvas learning management system to make teaching and learning easier for everyone, everywhere. Canvas empowers learning in every context with open, usable SaaS technologies. And through Canvas Network, Instructure provides a cloud platform where teachers, learners and institutions worldwide can connect and chart their own course for personal growth, professional development and academic inquiry. Learn more at www.instructure.com.
EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that helps higher education optimize the impact of IT. EDUCAUSE members have access to initiatives, events and programs that are designed to grow, change, strengthen and redefine the IT profession and advance the use of technology in higher education. EDUCAUSE membership is comprised of more than 68,000 individual participants including chief information officers, IT directors, academic deans, university librarians, teaching and learning professionals and faculty members. To learn more about EDUCAUSE and membership, please visit http://www.educause.edu.
About The University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida, the nation's second-largest university with over 60,000 students, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. UCF has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation, and today the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. Known as America's leading partnership university, UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region's success now and into the future. For more information, visit http://today.ucf.edu.
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