A model for combining computer-based distance learning with in-class instruction
The use of computer-based distance learning has grown rapidly in recent years and, for those students who find their learning style suited for online study, these courses have provided a flexible option for the completion of course work. However, some students who would prefer to take a course in a traditional on-campus lecture format find it necessary, due to such reasons as family or job obligations, to take an online course to complete their degree requirements. To better serve this latter type of students, a model was developed for a blended course that combines the flexibility of computer-based distance learning with the benefits of face-to-face instruction. This paper presents a description of the In-Class, ONline (ICON) model of instruction that has as its goal the use of appropriate technology to provide quality instruction while reducing the amount of time a student is required to be on campus. In particular, the ICON model’s structure consists of an in-class component that focuses on concept development and mastery, an on-line component comprised of tutorial materials and formative assessment tools to gauge student progress, and a resource component that consists of the textbook and a workbook designed to coordinate the in-class and on-line activities. The efficacy of the ICON model as applied to an introductory Astronomy course is then discussed through a preliminary analysis of student satisfaction with the model and its components and a comparison of grades with a traditional classroom-only section.