Blended Learning enhances the Quality of Teaching and Learning
BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has launched its one week Professional Development Days for all academic and administrative employees. The week will include a variety of lectures on different aspects regarding teaching and administrative matters. The Professional Days were launched by an introduction to ‘Blended Learning’ which has been applied at GUtech in recent years through the Moodle system. Blended Learning includes any kind of mixture of teacher-centred knowledge transfer and self-paced media supported learning. It combines the virtual learning and a non-virtual learning environment. “The aim is to motivate students and to improve student-centred learning, while offering group learning opportunities for some and opportunities to learn individually for others. Therefore, the quality of teaching and the learning experience for the student will be enhanced,” said Prof. Dr. Heribert Nacken, Rectorate’s Delegate for Blended Learning and Exploratory Teaching Space at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner-university in Germany. The ultimate goal should be to educate creators and innovators instead of conformists.
Therefore, the new teaching technologies including social media, which are familiar communication tools for the new generation should be applied on a regular basis in the classroom. For example mobile phones and tablets are integrated in lectures. “Blended learning needs to suit the teaching habit of the lecturer,” said Prof. Nacken while stressing that it should be highly encouraged but not enforced.
At RWTH Aachen University the Center of Excellence in Academic Teaching supports the different faculties in realizing blended learning techniques in the classroom. RWTH Aachen faculties have introduced video teaching as an effective teaching tool, which is very popular among students. According to Prof. Nacken 60-70 % of the students watch the videos prior to the lecture. RWTH Aachen University is part of the Massive Open Online Courses which are held in cooperation with leading universities in Europe such as ETH Zurich (Switzerland). In addition, the RWTH Aachen app is applied to test the student knowledge anonymously in the classroom. The Phyphox App is used in Physics for experiments outside the classroom by using a mobile phone. At GUtech Blended Learning has been applied through the Moodle software. To improve the quality of teaching of all departments, it is planned to implement further methods.