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Web-enhanced vs. Blended vs. Fully online course

It is helpful to begin with a few terms and definitions.

Web-enhanced courses are traditional courses that have some technology-mediated components that complement the required class meetings. For example, faculty may require students to use specific software to complete a lab or take exams using the school’s learning management system like D2L. The ability to extend an engaging discussion in the physical classroom to a discussion board in a learning management system is another example of a web-enhanced course. It is important to note, however, that web-enhanced courses do not reduce the amount of class meeting times in a given semester. As faculty introduced new technology into the face-to-face class, integration can happen in small increments and be improved upon from semester to semester.

Blended courses reduce the amount of times faculty and students meet in person in a given semester and rely heavily on web-technology to mediate learning. Face-to-face contact may happen in meetings at the beginning of the semester, the end, or consistently throughout the semester. Instructional design can greatly help ensure the success of teaching and learning among faculty and students.

Fully online courses almost singularly rely on technology to mediate the teaching-learning environment, and so it is especially crucial to make sure that best practices are used in creating engaging content, communication, visual design, organization, and assessment.

Further Readings

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee on Frequently Asked Questions about Hybrid Courses

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