FoTT 2010 — Building a Blended Class: Face-to-Face, Online, Anytime

Presenter: Robert “Rocky” Keel, UMSL

Presentation is available at (IE)

Rocky prefers to present in the same style as his teaching–interactive with the audience.

“Digital Natives” have grown up with technology all of their lives and regularly use their “devices” (e.g. smart phones) to interact with the world around them. Mobile devices in particular will become more and more important as time goes on.

Students may not interact in the classroom, but they do interact with each other outside of class. “Multi-channel” students use several different ways of interacting (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Rocky showed some statistics of how students (teens and young adults) are interacting. Over 500 million people (not just students) are on Facebook.

Building a blended class gives Rocky and the students some flexibility in how they access the course. Though there is also some structure to the course through the face-to-face activities. Students in an online course do as well or even better than traditional students. Online enrollments are surging in the past year.

Rocky played Michael Wesch’s (of Kansas State University) video on digital students of today. (A Vision of Students Today ( He has actually created several such videos, one of which focuses on K-12 students.

Blackboard was introduces at UMSL in 2000. According to Rocky, students were using Blackboard for their courses, even when the instructors were not.

Rocky has introduced students to Wimba Live Classroom (which plugs into Blackboard) and Wikis (also available in Blackboard) for his courses. Students have responded positively to UMSL’s use of these technologies.

Rocky’s blended learning model incorporates synchronous activities such as a face-to-face lecture and Wimba Live Classroom for distance students. Asynchronous tools include the online lecture notes and the Wimba archives for review. Another asynchronous tool is a Panopto video on how to use Wimba. About a third of Rocky’s students will view the Wimba archive.