I wish I could say that’s because of my teaching panache as a visual journalism professor at UMass Amherst. But the reason is more universal. By creating a blended learning classroom—and incorporating external Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)—I can now confidently outsource what’s boring, remedial, monotonous and binary to self-guided online lessons.
This works. After teaching my university’s first MOOC last summer on basic web design and development, I witnessed how the lessons were most useful in a far less massive environment: a modestly cramped classroom of 15 students.
Students in this blended course, called Web Design for Journalists, watched the MOOC videos and completed self-guided exercises on those technical topics as homework. If students had additional questions, we resolved them in class. It was a more successful workflow than listening to me drone on about CSS specificity and jQuery plugins.