Unit 2: Blended Courses
Many Royal Roads' courses are designated as "blended" - these primarily include:
- On-campus courses that are primarily face-to-face, but include online activities in place of some class time. Many suggestions for this kind of blend are found integrated into the other pages of this course.
- Courses that rely on significant face-to-face sessions during residency but include pre- and/or post-residency online activities. These are often called "res courses."
Considerations for teaching a "res course"
While you can and should review both the Teaching Online and the Teaching Face-to-Face sections of this resource to think more deeply about those environments, it is worthwhile taking a moment to consider what the "blend" of your particular course is and how you should approach each part.
Each program has a unique way of scheduling and positioning their residencies. The actual on-campus time can range from one to four weeks. The pre-residency online portion can range from one to four weeks... and (you guessed it!) the post-residency portion varies widely, too. So you need to communicate with the program office to fully understand the schedule. The length and scheduling of each of these sections of the course will impact what you can accomplish in them. For instance:
- A one-week pre-residency ("pre-res") is limited in what can be done before students arrive on campus, but something can be accomplished - perhaps an introduction and overview of the course via text and video, several readings/resources assigned prior to arriving on campus, and/or a short survey or brief reflective piece or discussion. Consider what might be going on in the pre-res portion of other courses the students may be taking at the same time. What can be done in approximately 12 hours? How much time will students need to explore and get familiar with the course materials? How long will it take the average student to do the readings? What will be the most helpful to students?
- A three- or four-week pre-res allows much more to happen. You need to think of this as not just the introduction to your course, but as the first section or unit of the course. You can accomplish a lot in this length of time! Teams can begin planning how they will work as a team, you can discuss course content in forums and/or during Collaborate Ultra web-conferencing sessions, or you could run a simulation or work with a case. You can also collect and mark one or more assignments.
In either case, be cognizant of what students have experienced in this program before your course, as well as what might be happening simultaneously. If this is the beginning of a program, do you need to dedicate some time to introductions and community-building, or has that process already begun somewhere else and you can build on it? Do the students already know each other? Have they introduced themselves to each other in prior courses? If you're the 'new one' to this student group, how can you make it interesting and meaningful for them to introduce themselves to you?
Residencies tend to be very intense, extremely busy and somewhat stressful for all. With this in mind:
- How will you connect your face-to-face (residency) time to the pre-res work?
- What truly value-added things will you do in residency that will make it worthwhile (perhaps vital) for your students who are traveling and spending time away from work and family?
- How will what students do in your classes coordinate with or support what students do in other classes?
- Depending on the length, a post-residency ("post-res") section can be treated as another section of the course - complete with discussions, other online learning activities, and assignments that bring the course to a fulfilling finish.
- Sometimes post-res is used primarily as time for students to complete a complex final assignment. While this may seem to be a solitary, independent task, you might consider using active Q&A forums to communicate with students as they work. You might want to post announcements with tips for making their assignment submission the best that it can be. There may be a current event or a new piece of research that would inform their work.
Don't forget to check in frequently with your Program Head or Intellectual Lead and program staff for updates and to ask any questions you have.
Also, don't forget to review the Online Teaching and the Face-to-Face Teaching sections of this course.