Teaching fellows blended learning initiative

Teaching Fellows' Blended Learning Initiative

Over the past year, Waterloo instructors have invested significant time and energy into adapting courses for remote delivery. In response to this effort, the University of Waterloo's Teaching Fellows conceived of an institution-wide (but faculty-specific) project in which motivated instructors can prepare for a return to face-to-face teaching by turning these new remote courses into blended courses that incorporate the best of both worlds with the support of the Centre for Teaching Excellence, the Centre for Extended Learning, and a community of practice with peers participating in the same initiative.

Why blended learning?

Blended learning applies to a wide variety of evidence-based teaching approaches that purposefully align and integrate online and face-to-face components in a meaningful way to achieve learning outcomes. This approach benefits instructors and students by:

  • Increasing active learning and student engagement,
  • Increasing student agency and autonomy, and
  • Reserving in-class time for high impact learning activities.

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What does "institution-wide (but faculty-specific)" mean?

"Institution-wide (but faculty-specific)" is an approach that acknowledges the benefits of institutional support for a project like the Blended Learning Inititiative but that takes into account each faculty's unique needs and context-specific strategies. 

What blended learning model is being used in this initiative?

This initiative is focused on supporting the development of blended courses that specifically use a "flipped classroom" model:

  • New content is primarily delivered online (with support available from the Agile Development Team at the Centre for Extended Learning)
  • In person class time is reserved for high impact activities that benefit from face-to-face contact (e.g. group work, discussions)

As with all courses developed at UWaterloo, those developed as part of this initiative will involve careful strategic decisions about which activities belong online or in person, to avoid overburdening students with work and to reduce face-to-face time.

What is the time span of this initiative?

The Provost has provided funding for resources to support this initiative for at least two years. Development of the first courses involved in this project began in Spring 2021, with workshops led by the Centre for Teaching Excellence and the Centre for Extended Learning. The length of the initiative will depend on level of uptake.

How can instructors learn more or get involved with this initiative?

Contact your Faculty's Teaching Fellow for more information.