Blended Learning: Combining Face-to-Face and Online Education

Technology-enabled Collaboration

Cisco has used blended learning model successfully for years to deliver its Networking Academy curriculum to 4.25 million people in 165 countries. The Cisco Networking Academy is just one of many programs using a blended leaning model today. Here we have talked about some of the prominent applications/technologies and programs that are transforming education system:

NetAcad Advantage: Cisco’s NetAcad Advantage utilizes a blended learning model that combines face-to-face teaching with engaging online content and hands-on learning activities to help students prepare for industry-standard certifications, entry-level and advanced careers, and higher education in engineering, computer science, information systems, and related fields.

This blended learning model uses several innovative technologies, including:

  • Cisco Packet Tracer
  • Cisco Passport21 to Entrepreneurship
  • Cisco Aspire
  • Social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Moodle: Moodle  allows students to work online from home. Assignments, quizzes, homework and even video lessons are available on this platform.

Course Builder: Google’s open source builder application Course Builder gives schools the ability to take the technology and structure of an MOOC with online video lectures and virtual assignments and apply it to the rigorous curriculum of traditional classes. This technology allows schools to develop and distribute courses in-house, giving them greater control over how the classes are operated.

Coursera: Coursera, has partnered with several US-based schools of education and other institutions and museums to bring free professional development courses to teachers via the web. The courses will follow the same format as other MOOCs on Coursera and will adopt the startup’s peer-grading approach. For example, teachers could write a lesson plan or videotape themselves teaching and then receive feedback from other members of the course.

Teachers, educators and even parents can take the new courses for free but, as with other Coursera classes, they can pay $30 to $100 for the “Signature Track” option, in which their identity is verified and they receive a certificate at the end of the course.

Slowly, Coursera’s is moving into blended learning space in alliance with leading educational institutions. Some of them are:

  • University of Washington intends to make its classes available on Coursera for credit. If implemented, the classes would available for a fee, and they would likely only be an option for students already enrolled at the university.
  • Antioch University also began a similar program that makes select Coursera courses available for credit to their students
  • The American Council on Education (ACE) has begun working with Coursera to evaluate credit equivalency for the courses offered on the Coursera website. This would open up the possibility of earning college credit accepted by over 1,000 US colleges and universities by taking select Coursera classes.

edX: edX has partnered with two Massachusetts community colleges to apply online learning to the traditional college experience. With funding provided by The Gates Foundation, this partnership will act as an experiment for blended courses that integrate the MOOC format of watching video lectures and participating in interactive online assignments with traditional classroom discussions.

In addition to this community college experiment, edX has expanded its course offerings by partnering with the University of Texas System (UT), a group of nine universities and six health institutes.

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