Blended learning in a first year mathematics subject

Layna Groen, Georgina Carmody

Abstract


This paper argues that the achievement of learning objectives for a first year mathematics subject, Operations Research Modelling, can be best fostered through a blended learning design. ‘Blended learning’ can be used in a variety of contexts. In this paper, the definition used is that of the integration of ‘traditional’ learning activities ─ lectures, tutorials, Mathematica and optimisation laboratories, and paper-based assessment tasks ─ with learning activities and environments more usually associated with other disciplines ─ collaborative learning, online assessment, peer review, cases studies, spreadsheet technology, and the information and communication technology, Blackboard. It is argued that a blended learning design includes learning activities that more closely mirror professional practice, and is more likely to encourage a deep approach to learning. Effectiveness of the blended learning design is examined from the perspective of students and teaching staff, through the analysis of responses to questionnaires and comments collected.

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