SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Instructure, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company and creator of the Canvas learning management system (LMS) today announced that the BlendKit course has returned, this time with an institutional cohort option. EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida (UCF) are again offering the popular massive open online course (MOOC) on the merits and methods of blended learning via Instructure's Canvas Network. Titled "BlendKit2016: Becoming a Blended Learning Designer," the course is the third iteration of the EDUCAUSE and UCF partnership. Watch a short video on the BlendKit course highlighting the course design and participant experience.
"The power of online professional development is that we can collaborate and educate in real-time. BlendKit2016 leverages that power to advance strategic understanding of blended learning's full potential," said Julie Little, EDUCAUSE vice president of teaching, learning and professional development.
Blended learning, the strategic combination of face-to-face and online learning experiences, is growing in popularity in both K-12 and higher-education settings. Like its predecessors, the BlendKit course was designed by faculty at UCF to explore the basis for blended learning and then guide participants with best practices and steps for constructing a successful blended experience.
"As a practice, online instruction is still in its infancy, relative to traditional classroom methods," said Tom Cavanagh, associate vice president of distributed learning at UCF. "Having two decades of experience in online learning puts our institution in a unique position to help our peers avoid the pitfalls we've experienced with it and fully realize their visions for novel modes in interaction."
UCF has a storied 20-year pedigree in online education. In 2011, a Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) grant leveraged the institution's expertise to create a free, open resource to assist educators in developing or expanding their blended-learning initiatives. The core of the BlendKit course was created through this grant and, with the commencement of BlendKit2016, UCF will have facilitated five full cohorts to date.
This year's program offers a special emphasis on institutional cohorts, where multiple faculty and staff from the same college or university can participate in BlendKit2016 as a shared experience. View this webinar recording for details on local cohort options at http://bit.ly/blendkitlocal_recording. The five-week course also includes:
- Expert and peer assessment and critique on design work
- Regular interactions with facilitators and students
- Blogging/social networking interaction opportunities
- Weekly webinars with guest presenters
- Document templates and practical step-by-step "how to" guides
- Readings from scholarly works pertaining to blended learning
- Suggested activities for institutional groups participating together
BlendKit2016 will be facilitated by UCF Center for Distributed Learning instructional designers Dr. Rohan Jowallah and Dr. Baiyun Chen. The course is free and open to any learners, who can also elect to participate in a low-cost certification track. This more rigorous option includes a full portfolio review and, upon completion, offers a certificate from EDUCAUSE and UCF and a digital badge that participants can include on their EDUCAUSE profiles and professional/social networks. Institutions that organize faculty cohorts receive custom coaching in strategies to extend the impact of BlendKit after the course. Continuing education units (CEUs) will also be offered for the first time this year.
"Courses like BlendKit2016 help educators, regardless of experience or position, to think creatively and innovatively about their teaching to ultimately improve student outcomes," said Melissa Loble, vice president of programs and partnerships at Instructure. "Open education courses such as this are bringing to the education community a wealth of opportunities for creating and accessing truly impactful professional development opportunities."
The BlendKit2016 course begins Feb. 22, 2016, and registration is currently open on Canvas Network at https://www.canvas.net/courses/becoming-a-blended-learning-designer-2. More information can be found at www.canvas.net. Those interested in the course can also follow along on Twitter at #BlendKit2016.
Instructure Inc. is the software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology company that makes software that makes people smarter. With a vision to help maximize the potential of people through technology, Instructure created Canvas and Bridge to enable organizations everywhere to easily develop, deliver, and manage engaging face-to-face and online learning experiences. To date, Instructure has connected millions of teachers and learners at more than 1,600 educational institutions and corporations throughout the world. Learn more about Canvas for higher ed and K-12, and Bridge for the corporate market at www.Instructure.com.
EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association that helps higher education optimize the impact of IT. EDUCAUSE members have access to initiatives, events and programs that are designed to grow, change, strengthen and redefine the IT profession and advance the use of technology in higher education. EDUCAUSE membership is comprised of more than 68,000 individual participants including chief information officers, IT directors, academic deans, university librarians, teaching and learning professionals and faculty members. To learn more about EDUCAUSE and membership, please visit http://www.educause.edu.
About The University of Central Florida
America's Partnership University: The University of Central Florida, the nation's second-largest university with more than 63,000 students, has grown in size, quality, diversity and reputation in its first 50 years. Today, the university offers more than 200 degree programs at its main campus in Orlando and more than a dozen other locations. UCF is an economic engine attracting and supporting industries vital to the region's future while providing students with real-world experiences that help them succeed after graduation. For more information, visit http://today.ucf.edu.
Jessica Hutchison, Method Communications
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