Progress Report

NGLC Blended Learning Projects

Blended learning, with its tantalizing potential to combine the benefits of face-to-face learning with the benefits of online learning, represents both aspiration and challenge for many postsecondary institutions as they consider issues of access, affordability, and student success. This was why blended learning was a core interest ever since the first NGLC request for proposals was issued. Now, as 10 blended learning-focused projects awarded grants in that first wave of NGLC funding near completion, the time is right to share some analysis and some thinking about what has marked the design and implementation phases of the grantees’ efforts to scale their models to other institutions. And today we’re pleased to do exactly that by releasing a report, “Building Blocks for College Completion: Blended Learning.”

The blended learning projects sought to fulfill the bold mission of all 29 Wave I projects—to see if it were possible to take innovative models working in one place and find a way to make them work in multiple settings by supporting their adoption at institutions other than the one where they originated. In this report, we share details about the designs of their scalable models: the ways that many of them applied, established, and tested their innovations elsewhere.

We also share their strategies for scaling: the ways in which they developed their internal capacity to support more widespread implementation; the technology platforms they selected; and their approaches to providing training, professional development, and technical support to faculty and staff at adopting institutions.

For example, professional development for faculty at many other institutions was a key component of the project of the University of Central Florida. For the expansion of cyber Peer-led Team Learning to new campuses, technical support to staff at new campuses was central. And in Missouri, support for the course redesigns of the Missouri Learning Commons differed from institution to institution, depending on decisions made at the adopting campuses.

Instructors reported on their experiences using the blended learning models in their courses through an independent evaluation, and we share insights from the survey results as well.

With a view to what may be of the greatest interest those at other campuses, we’ve included a few sections that point toward further work, in addition to the analysis:

  • information about what we don’t know yet and won’t be able to determine prior to the projects’ conclusions,
  • primer questions to guide the work of other institutions thinking of designing blended learning models or adopting models that exist now, and
  • an annotated list of useful resources for further study.

This paper has benefited from review by all of the grantees whose projects are discussed and from several reviewers who are recognized experts in blended learning in postsecondary education.

We encourage you to read the paper  – which opens with “Key Takeaways,” an executive summary for those pressed for time -  and, we hope, improve your sense of the blended learning landscape in postsecondary education today as exemplified by a wide range of promising models. We’ve certainly improved our awareness of that landscape in putting this together! And we’d very much like your feedback and comments, which will be of great value in determining the scope of the later papers we plan on other challenge areas – and in indicating the value of analysis of this kind.

To learn more about any one of the ten blended learning models featured in the report, visit the grantee pages on our site:

Blended Liberal Arts STEM Courses
Bryn Mawr College

Catch-up and Complete
The SUNY Learning Network

Classroom Salon
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Carnegie Mellon University

Cyber Peer-Led Team Learning (cPLTL)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Do the Math!
Chattanooga State Community College

Expanding Blended Learning Through Tools and Campus Programs
University of Central Florida (UCF) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Hybrid Lab Courses
California State University, Northridge

Math On-Demand+ Early Alert
The City Colleges of Chicago

Missouri Learning Commons
University of Missouri System

OpenStudy
Inquus Corporation

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