Blended Learning: One Size Does Not Fit All

Author: Erin Gavin
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EdTech Café

EdTech Cafe
 Standford EdTech (Author)
EdTech Café is a podcast series produced by the educational technology team at Stanford Medicine.

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is reaching out to our global community of thought leaders, faculty, innovators and practitioners to bring you insights from the field of online, blended and digital learning. This week, Amy Gaimaro, OLC Institute faculty for the four week workshop Blended Learning: Applying Best Practices into Course Design, joins us to discuss strategies for determining a blended learning approach in course design.  

OLC: There are many opportunities to teach online. Why did you choose OLC and which Institute course(s) do you teach for OLC?  
In my various online administration positions, OLC has always been the go-to resource for me and the instructional designers who work with me. Their workshops are essential to an online team who wants to keep up with current trends in blended and online learning. I look forward to facilitating Blended Learning: Applying Best Practices into Course Design in October 2020.  

OLC: What do you believe are the top 3 ways in which professionals in our field can stay current and move ahead?  

1. Always keep an open mind.
2. Collaborate with peers inside and outside your institution.
3. Keep your skills sharp by attending/participating in conferences and professional development opportunities.   

OLC: You have designed, and are facilitating, the upcoming 4-week course Blended Learning: Applying Best Practices into Course Design. How is the topic of blended learning relevant for educators today?  
There has never been a more important time in education to advance our knowledge and skills in blended learning. From K-12, corporate training to higher education, we are now seeing an increase in blended/hybrid learning. As we recently saw in March 2020, schools had to pivot quickly from face-to-face to fully online instruction. Learning the skills and strategies to best integrate face-to-face and online learning is critical for 2020 and beyond.  

OLC: What are the 3 most important things prospective participants should know about the Blended Learning: Applying Best Practices into Course Design workshop?  
1. One size does not fit all when it comes to designing blended courses.
2. Institutional and faculty readiness should be carefully considered before launching a blended learning initiative. 
3. Integrating face-to-face instruction with online learning is challenging and careful planning is essential when developing a quality course design.    

OLC: Tell us about research or a work project in which you are currently engaged.  
I am currently involved in growing my team of instructional designers while promoting a mentoring program with our faculty center. With the recent growth in online teaching and learning, my focus has been to mentor new instructional designers so we can deliver high-quality course design offerings through webinars, online courses and our new initiative started in March 2020 called, Virtual Course Design Hour. I am presenting at OLC’s Accelerate Conference on the success of our Virtual Course Design Hour and I look forward to attending Accelerate virtually.   

OLC: What was the last book, journal, or article you read that relates to the field?  
Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education by Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten T. Behling  

OLC: How can people connect with you?  
People can connect with me on Twitter at @agaimaro.

About Amy Gaimaro

Dr. Amy Gaimaro has over twenty years of higher education teaching and administration experience. She is currently Dean of Innovative Delivery Methods at Molloy College for five years. She also teaches in the Computer Studies Department at Molloy. She possesses a bachelor’s in finance, a master’s in accounting, a second master’s in educational technology and a doctorate in business administration information systems.

While she has taught in many disciplines, she has recently focused on computer studies and educational technology. She teaches in face-to-face, hybrid and fully online formats. Her research emphasis is on higher education faculty development and quality course design strategies. She has completed several OLC workshop courses, she is certified to apply the Quality Matters Rubric and she is a graduate of OLC’s IELOL Program, Class of 2013!

She is a native New Yorker and is married with three daughters. She is also the proud parent of two dogs: Nelly and Rio. Amy loves to boat with her family, spend time at the beach and crochet.

 

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Blended Learning: One Size Does Not Fit All
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