The first blended or hybrid online course in a New Zealand Secondary School:A case study

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A review of Parkes,Zaka &Davis (2011) paper

Research Findings:

The participants of this study were 8 Year 13 Home Economics students.  Due to timetabling limitations and other commitments held by the students the decision was made to move part of this course online into a Moodle platform to accommodate the required flexible learning needs.

Students noted that their confidence with using digital tools grew and they enjoyed being able to communicate their ideas creatively in a variety of ways.  The teacher observed students’ engagement and motivation had increased along with developing better written communication.  Students had a number of ways available to them to communicate with their teacher and peers,through Moodle forums,face to face,email and texting.  The teacher commented that the diversity of communication tools encouraged participation.  Students also developed better written material as a result of having to convey their ideas without body language visual clues.    This situational aspect also generated a friendly learning atmosphere which extended beyond school hours and was a catalyst to better teacher-student relations.   The study showed the potential Web 2.0 tools and hyper linking to specific sites offer

Implications for Practice:

Ongoing support is imperative if students’ uptake for online learning is to be successful.   Teacher’s can aid their students’ technical ability by providing plenty of ‘hands on’ assistance in the initial stages.  Allow time to sit alongside students’ whilst they participate in the online environment so as to guide and direct when required.  Students’ may bring with them preconceived barriers to communicating online with some members of the class particularly if they are not communicating with those peers in their face to face environment.  Consideration and time must be given by the teacher to develop a positive ‘community of learning’ and to germinate the covert benefits to students about learning in a collaborative online environment.

Reference:

Parkes,S.,Zaka,P.,Davis,N.,
The first blended or hybrid online course in a New Zealand Secondary School:A case study
Computers in New Zealand Schools Vol 23 No 1 (2011)

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