Dear Commons Community,
I arrived yesterday in beautiful Milwaukee for the 10th Annual Sloan-C Conference and Workshop. It was a pleasure seeing and having dinner with friends and colleagues from the University of Central Florida, the University of Nebraska, and Umea (Sweden) University.
It is hard to believe that this conference is ten years old. It seems like yesterday that Mary Niemiec organized the first invitation only workshop in Chicago with a group of thirty of us trying to figure out exactly what was this thing we called “blended learning”. We never thought it would evolve the way it has. As Tanya Joosten (this year’s conference organizer) posted on the conference website, it is no longer new but the future for higher education is in blended learning:
“Although the field of blended learning is not new, we are witnessing a revival in interest around blended learning for a greater array of educational institutions working to improve the overall state of education in our society. Lessons are not only learned from our experiences in practice, but they are also learned from our research over the past decade, and they assist us in making decisions when it comes to strategy, implementation, pedagogy, research, and support. These lessons guide our institutions.
Our future is blended learning. There are many paths we can take to meet our goal in ensuring quality for students, and we need to explore the contingencies to make sound decisions in determining our roadmap. The changing landscape is evident in new terminology (flipped classrooms), new growth in sectors (k-12), and new financial support for blended programs (NGLC). This transformation reveals new ideas about blended learning. As a community, we look to research and evidence to assist us in answering these questions and to drive us into the blended learning future.”