Reflections on Blended Learning

Mark Neild  blog by Mark Neild, EdD student, SOE, University of Bristol

This article is a personal reflection on the best and worst of blended learning from the perspective of a senior lecturer in innovation and entrepreneurship teaching a unit with 35 and another with 160 students, who is also a student at the School of Education.

The positives of online learning

In some ways the forced move to “blended learning” has enabled us to accelerate a move towards the “flipped classroom” in which students consume prepared material individually and come together for “meaning making” through shared dialogue. One advantage of individual consumption is that students can learn at their own pace, stop and rewind in a way impossible with a real time “lecture”. This has benefits for interactivity, particularly for students whose first language is not English.  Such “asynchronous” interaction allows those who (for whatever reason) process new information more slowly to still engage in online discussions rather than missing out because by the time they are ready to contribute, the discussion has moved on. We have also been able to invite visiting experts for 20-minute guest Q&A sessions without the need for hours of travelling and recorded some great guest interviews.  The weekly outline for our unit of 160 students looked like this. (more…)

Initial Teacher Education during a pandemic

The School of Education catches up with Beth McEwan, PGCE student, and trainee History teacher to ask her why she chose to undertake her PGCE (Initial Teacher Education) at the School of Education, University of Bristol, and the challenges of studying during a pandemic.

 Tell us about yourself and why you chose to become a history teacher.

I’m Beth and I recently graduated from Cardiff University, where I did my History degree. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was about 15 or 16, but I originally wanted to be a primary school teacher. After doing work experience in a primary school, and as I gradually fell more and more in love with History, I realised I would prefer to be a History teacher.

I also feel that the transferable skills gained through studying History are vital. Having the ability to look critically at the evidence and arguments surrounding you, and to frame your own interpretations based on evidence, is becoming increasingly important. If I can contribute to providing these skills to future students, and to help them achieve their ambitions, I’ll find my career deeply rewarding. (more…)

Transitioning to online teaching: a few reflections to consider

Blog by Carolina Valladares Celis School of Education

In one way or another, most lecturers and teaching assistants at the School of Education are already familiarised with the use of technologies to support our teaching. For instance, Blackboard is regularly used to upload resources for students – either to prep before class or to communicate and reflect afterwards. Using technology to deliver our teaching, though, is a different matter. (more…)