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Explorations into Blended Flexible Learning

Just as I thought I had online teaching under control*, we were advised that the new form of teaching for the summer semester would be with Blended Flexible Learning (BFL). Our university put together a 40 hour course on the topic, and the time started ticking to get everything up and running before the start of the semester.

So, I completely turned my course upside down, and took the pieces to build up a version of my Reinforced Concrete 2 course in the BFL format. We learned about a number of different ways of teaching, and I settled down with the “5Es”: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate. I took Catlin Tucker’s website as my reference for developing modules around predefined topics. I used her template for developing my modules. I’m including Padlet, Mentimeter, Google Forms (Exit tickets), Google Slides (for building slide decks), and D2L forums and assignments to support this format. In fact, I turned all the tasks into entries in D2L/Brightspace that need ticking off as the students progress through the material.

Class time will be just for answering questions, watching student presentations etc. Old-school instruction is out of the door with the exception of a few short presentations from my side. Instead, there are exercises in Zoom breakout groups, self-study, videos to watch, group study, and also jigsaw group work. Let’s see how it goes!

I’m on one hand excited about this development, but on the other hand I’m quite concerned on how to teach deep study skills when we chop up our content in pieces of 3-5 minutes in length. Therefore, I’m emphasizing deep work skills and self-study this semester. I hope this will help my students to find their focus and be able to develop the complexity in thought associated with the design of concrete structures.

* in emergency mode, with the tools that I have available at home – writing formulas is an issue.

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