Student-Directed Blended Learning with Facebook Groups and Streaming Media: Media in Asia at Furman University

by Tami Blumenfield, James B. Duke Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Furman University

photograph of Tami Blumenfield, author of "Student-Directed Blended Learning with Facebook Groups and Streaming Media: Media in Asia at Furman University"

Executive Summary

Furman University prizes itself on being an engaged learning, liberal arts institution with extensive faculty-student interaction. 96% of students live on campus, leading some to question whether reducing face-to-face instructional time makes any sense pedagogically. Coming from a different institution that encouraged faculty to create hybrid courses, and seeing the creativity and freedom that offered, I wanted to experiment with the format in this new institutional environment. Would it still be effective? What adaptations would be necessary, and how would students react to this different course format?

In Fall 2013, I taught a carefully designed blended learning course that met once weekly for two hours and offered students extensive choices for meeting the course and unit learning objectives, using Facebook groups to report on and discuss their progress and communicate with their peers.

This case study examines the course experience and outcomes. It discusses practical and logistical elements of teaching a flipped-classroom, hybrid version of a general-education, Asian Studies course. The case study delves into student responses to the freedom provided by the course requirements and the implications of using Facebook as a learning management system. Finally, the case study analyzes the role of courses like Media in Asia at a residential campus like Furman University and the broader role of hybrid pedagogy in the liberal arts context. It concludes with recommendations for institutional support of hybrid course initiatives.

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