Engagement, Accountability, & Collaboration in Blended Learning

Engagement, Accountability, & Collaboration in Blended Learning

Kelsey Fisher

Kasley Fisher is an English teacher at Lake Orion High School in Lake Orion, Michigan. In her capstone project she discussed engagement, accountability and collaboration in blended learning.

Her school offered blended learning courses for their junior and senior students even before pandemic. For these classes, 50% of the time students meet in person where attendance is mandatory and the rest 50% they work asynchronously outside the classroom. Students were expected to earn at least 80% in grades. Students take responsibility and if they fail to maintain their grade or attendance, their teachers ask them to attend class on their scheduled online dates. 

Author thought that students may take those online class days as no work day, and for that reason to keep students engaged in learning, teachers were expected to create asynchronous lesson plans to foster student engagement, facilitate collaboration and hold students responsible.

For her project she designed a blended reading unit for the book, specifically for expository reading and writing for 12th grade English class.There were multiple activities such as novel discussion, activities focused on non fiction reading skills and embracing creativity were built within the unit. Students analyzed the connections between blended learning environments and the characteristic design features and leasing outcomes. To add student self regulation, Kasely embedded goal settings, progress monitoring and a checklist into the unit. To address learner interaction, she added several collaborative units such as facilitation of small groups into the LMS. 

Kasley claims that her capstone helped promote the school vision of using technology to enhance instruction in student achievement by including blended learning with technology use. She compared their edTech vision with ISTE 2a standard. To achieve this goal, current technology was used to enhance student achievement.

The unit that she created was based on ISTE standards. With standard 5a, students watched the TED talk with closed captions and transcript and practiced how to identify the author’s claim and evidence and plug it in those findings into a digital graphic organizer. She also added goal setting criteria for students.

Considering ISTE standard 7a, she created personalized learning experience by offering studnet’s choice. Students were given more than one choice to demonstrate their understanding. They could do audio or video recording, and decide how to create their web of concepts. It gave students choice of the process and the product they want to use to empower them in their learning. Author also utilized the Triple E framework while designing this unit. Chat dotcom, and zoom were used to include technology to help students focus on their work with less distraction which shifts their passive behavior to active. Guest speakers were invited via zoom.

Along with ISTE 7a, 5a she also considered adding differentiation and accommodation by turning closed captions for videos and providing transcripts, added alternative text to photos etc.

This team unit was very self explanatory, with different private channels for group activities and discussion. In general, a digital notebook was added with the class agenda to help students self regulation. All this information was well organized. After students finished blended learning, they reported they were intrinsically motivated with knowledge construction and satisfied with their learning process.

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