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Students can be critical of blended instruction if they felt the face-to-face and time-out-of-class components of the course were not well integrated.


For the most part, the blended format will be new to students, and they will benefit greatly from a clear rationale for its use. Instructors may need to explain the model and why it was chosen. A carefully constructed syllabus can provide much of the information about course structure for students; information like when and where the face-to-face meetings will be held, when and how assignments should be submitted, and what exactly will occur during the class meeting times are all critical aspects of the course that may not be obvious to those students new to blended learning.


Research indicates that student satisfaction with the blended format is highly dependant on the level of interaction with instructors and other students. Instructors can address interaction issues by providing time during the face to face sessions for discussion, in addition to using available inline discussion tools such as ANGEL discussion forums.

Student expectations

Blended learning students require a greater ability to regulate their work and manage their own time. This is because they have fewer in-class meetings, and thus may not realize that they are falling behind in the course. Many blended instructors report significant problems with students not taking responsibility for their courses and with students' poor time management skills.

In addition, some instructors have found that students occasionally assume that online and blended courses are inherently “easier” than traditional face-to-face courses. This can create problems when the rigors of the course surpass the expectations of some students. Again, a well-constructed syllabus can provide the essential details on what exactly is expected of students, thereby mitigating possible confusion on the part of students.

Recommendations for making the most of your blended course

Over the past several years, faculty members at Penn State have been developing and teaching blended format courses in various colleges and departments. Below is a list of recommendations based on their experiences, using data collected from interviews and conversations with many of those faculty. These recommendations can be used as a guide for how to maximize the chances for a successful blended course:

  • At a minimum, blended instructors should allow six months lead time for course development; one year is preferred. Several instructors voiced an opinion that the need for integration and organization necessitates a full course redesign; creating a blended course is not as simple as placing presentation slides or notes online.
  • Mastering the technology necessary to administer the course can be a challenge, and instructors should set aside time to learn the requisite tools. Posting content to the course web site, creating discussion forums, and managing student grade books are examples of skills that might be useful to practice.
  • Hold an initial face-to-face kick-off meeting. This first meeting can serve many roles, including a general orientation to the format of the course, a review of technology requirements, and an opportunity for the students to socialize and get to know their peers and their instructor.
  • Make students aware of what a blended course entails. For many students, the blended format is a novelty. Use course documents like the syllabus or the class schedule to help guide students. Rely on course communication tools like email announcements to make sure that the students know what’s coming up next.
  • Provide information on time management skills. Because of the self-pacing elements of a blended course, students may benefit from improving their skills in managing their work and schedules. The University Learning Centers can direct students to resources. In addition, Penn State has developed an iStudy online module that contains information on improving time management: (External Link)
  • Be sure that the face-to-face class meetings are integrated into the course, and hold value to the educational experience that connects with the online coursework. Students may become frustrated if they feel that the face-to-face sessions are simply thrown into the course, with no thought given to the role that the classroom time plays within the course.
  • Intro/technology overview
  • Collaborative small-group work
  • Advanced discussions
  • Project presentations
  • Guest speakers
  • Q&A sessions
  • Demonstrations
  • Lab work

Voice of experience

To hear insights from an experienced online instructor about preparing for online teaching, access the following interview. Please make sure your audio is enabled.

Andrew wiesner

Andrew wiesner - developing and teaching a blended course (interviewed by gary chinn) (mp3)


Aycock, A., Garnham, C.,&Kaleta, R. (2002). Lessons learned from the hybrid course project. Teaching Scholars Forum, 8(6). (External Link)

Dziuban, C. D., Hartman, J. L.,&Moskal, P. D. (2004). Blended learning. Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, 7. (External Link)

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Source:  OpenStax, Best practices in online teaching. OpenStax CNX. Aug 28, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10453/1.2
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