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July 15, 2010

Are academics hindering blended learning uptake?

I recently attended the Fifth International Blended Learning Conference, which was organised by the University of Hertfordshire, UK. 

Some speakers mentioned that a major challenge in implementing blended learning strategies in their institutions were academics who were reluctant to use blended learning for a number of reasons. Some thought that they were not technology savvy (maybe related to a reluctance to learn new technologies or fear of technology), or don’t want to share the resources which they have developed (in other words, they were worried about the intellectual property issues) or they saw BL as an extra burden.

Many lecturers still preferred the old face-to-face style of classroom interactions.

And many just fulfilled the minimum requirements - to tick boxes – eg., uploading their notes to their online portals with no form of avenue for interactions. 

This indicates several underlying issues:

- That the academics were not convinced of the value of the blended learning strategies or

- May indicate a lack of motivation or

- It may simply be an indication of a lack of awareness (how the exisiting systems could be used for blended learning).

Several speakers also emphasised the importance of support of the top managers towards any BL initiative.  “To walk the talk”.  One presenter talked about institutionalised problems – about a top down only culture. 

Problems also arose where the top management showed a lack of support – for example, low attendance in workshops which had an adverse knock down effect down the ranks.

Would love to hear what you think?

Dilip Mutum

This blog records some of the thoughts and experiences of Dilip Mutum at the University of Warwick. He has been blogging since 2003 and this is but one of his many blogs.

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