Use of traditional and elearning components in a blended learning environment
AbstractStructural changes to an advanced first year human biology course integrated an eLearning component with traditional lectures and laboratory classes. An investigation of use and perceptions of usefulness indicate that the components have been successfully blended. In 2005 the course underwent a major curriculum review with a new structure emerging in which a significant amount of content was moved online. The online component became the focal point of the course with the remaining face-to-face activities (lectures and practical classes) blended with the new online component in a manner that emphasised equal linkage between them. This was very different from the previous course where online materials had been perceived by the students as supplemental to the course and not central, and they had reported their use of these to be essentially for revision. Over a two year period we have been investigating the use and students perceptions of usefulness of all the resources available in this course. We wanted to see if the way in which we had blended the learning materials changed the way in which students used them and if their perceptions of usefulness had changed. As we believed the blended model offered the students better opportunities for deep learning, we wanted to see if their written responses to short answer examination questions improved as a result of the new course format.