The blended learning class begins on Tuesday, and we’ve got a lot of work yet to do. One of the challenges was the site itself, D2L. I don’t know it yet. Eventually I will, but for now it means a lot of trial and error. There is technical support (off until sometime next week).
Current issues: I can’t access “alerts”. I can see I have some, but it never opens. I can select it, but the timer goes on indefinitely. Same with checking messages.
Second challenge – new students have just been added to the course and do not have login access yet. Tried to get this done Friday, i.e. within minutes of finding out that three new students had been registered. This was when I found out that tech support was off until next week. This means we cannot use the D2L platform until these learners are registered.
Time is always a factor. There is so much information out there, but I don’t have the hours in the day to go through everything prior to the class beginning.
That said, the course is beginning to take shape. We have a basic first week outline and a backup webpage already loaded with information, articles, and tasks for the students. I am going to keep the website open as a mirror of D2L, in case there are issues with access. The course is only 5 weeks, with an outcome exam in the last week. Students will only be in the classroom 10 times, in the mornings only.
Pay close attention to this (I’m talking to myself). I think that the following will occur:
- between my colleague and I, we will have a tonne more information that we can realistically deliver
- we will find that using the D2L platform will gradually get easier each time
- some learners may not realize the workload and will complain that we expect too much
- some learners will not be prepared prior to the classroom time (i.e. they may not have viewed the required videos, read the articles, or completed the assigned tasks)
- some learners will be quite advanced and may actually finish much more quickly than their peers, meaning that they might be bored with the progress the class is making if the pace is slower than they anticipated
- learners may not be able to manipulate the internet, use search engines, use basic word programs as readily as others, requiring much more one-on-one time than others, possibly requiring time after class
On the plus side, I do honestly believe that we will be able to produce a good working model of how to incorporate blended learning in the ESL classroom for adult learners.