Face-to-face, blended or fully online?

Continuum-of-technology-based-teaching-2The continuum of technology-based teaching“, adapted from Bates and Poole, 2003, presented in Bates, 2015, is licensed under CC BY NC.

I am not easily carried away with new technologies and digital solutions, so I entered this week’s topic of openness and sharing being hesitant and restrained, but still with a fairly open mind.

My initial thoughts of this topic was pretty much summed up by Alastair Creelman at the ONL172 Topic 2 Webinar: Open Education, Openness and Sharing “We all want to be open, and it sounds very wonderful. It’s hard to say: ‘I’m against openness’”. However, as indicated above, I am a cautious person who do not want to enthusiastically embrace the idea of freely sharing all the material I have been working with, unless I have examined the consequences thoroughly.

After having a closer look at the recommended resources for this topic I have realized that there are no easy answers or clear definitions that you may decide to embrace or reject. It seems to me that openness in education is a rapidly developing, complex field; a sort of global initiative of exploring if and how technology can enhance learning. One specific example of this exploratory mode is MOOCs. At first I thought that there would be a specific definition of what constitutes a MOOC, but I have now learned that every letter in MOOC is debatable.


MOOC, every letter is negotiable“, Mathieu Plourde, 2013, is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

On my quest of exploring the world of open education, one question in particular caught my interest: Which courses are suitable for face-to-face, blended or fully online learning?

With that question in mind I have looked at the book Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning (Bates, 2015), where you can read that:

«…we have enough experience now of teaching online to know that in most subject areas, a great deal of the skills and content needed to achieve learning outcomes can be taught online. It is no longer possible to argue that the default decision must always be to do the teaching in a face-to-face manner» (p 325).

Bates also presents some useful questions institutions and teachers can consider when designing a course, to choose if the course benefits from being face-to-face, blended or fully online. These questions shed some light on my question above.

However, to get an even better idea of which content and/or skills that one may teach most effectively either face-to-face, blended or fully online, it would be highly useful to gain insight in the experiences of others.

I hope that my colleagues in the ONL 172 community can help me with this – it would be great if you could post answers and reflections to these questions (or just one of them) as comments to this blog post:

Based on your experience

  • which content and/or skills can be taught really well face-to-face?
  • which content and/or skills can be taught really well by using a combination of face-to-face and online learning (blended)?
  • which content and/or skills can be taught really well by using fully online learning?

2 thoughts on “Face-to-face, blended or fully online?

  1. The dilemmas with anything open whether digital or not is that you don’t become open to everyone and you need to establish a trust. Creative commons is a way to be trustful but like everything in life, nothing is foolproof.


  2. ulfolsson248

    Interesting questions, and the answers will be even more interesting.
    I have colleagues that have expressed that they will NOT be able to teach online as they teach with their whole body. They need to walk around in the classroom explaining things, and so on. WHEN forced to teach online they found that IT IS possible and the students learn at least as much as in the classroom. … What I want to say is that the answers can be baised 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s