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Posted on Jan 13, 2012 - 06:00 AM | Online Classes | Comments (0)

Universities are pushing online education as the way of the future, but students say they prefer onsite classes, and the Department of Education says they both have a point.
 
Their research shows that students learn best in a class that blends onsite and online learning. Unfortunately, most classes are one or the other, and there’s no clear definition as to what makes a blended class.
 
What Is a Blended Class?
 
  1. Social Media Outreach. This is a traditional class in which the teacher uses Facebook, Twitter, et al, to answer student questions, remind them of deadlines, or suggest research materials and articles that might interest them.
  2. Online and Classroom Lectures. A teacher conducts lectures both in the classroom and through popular streaming sites like Skype.
  3. High-Tech Tools in the Classroom. Once upon a time teachers showed movies in the classroom, but today they’ve added PowerPoint and Prezi presentations, allow Smartphones and iPads in class for research and recording purposes, and encourage e-textbooks where they can then discuss pop-ups and other high-tech additions.
 
There are almost as many ways to set up a blended class as there are ways to access them.
 
Blended Learning in College Prep and Career Research

It’s easy to find blended learning classes, particularly when the teacher sets up the content and instructs you where to turn. It can be a lot more difficult when it comes to college prep. Guidance counselors don’t hold lectures or regular meetings, and may not tell you what internet resources to use.
 
·        Selecting high school classes. Browse the web for what classes you need for certain careers, college majors, or admissions to various campuses and then take that list with you when you meet your guidance counselor.
·        SAT or ACT test prep. Your counselor can let you know when the college entrance exams are and how to register, but you can do all that online. Then, use your weaknesses in the classroom to improve your weakest areas through web-based SAT and ACT prep materials before taking the test. You can also use those results and practice questions to improve you work in class so that your SAT or ACT scores reflect your grades.
·        College or campus research. Your guidance counselor may suggest colleges, but you'll have to research them individually or use a site like collegeprepexpert.com to conduct side-by-side comparisons.
·        Career research. A guidance counselor’s job includes helping you pick out a career, but their information and direction will be limited. Use the web to take personality tests and research careers. Video can make this highly interactive and engaging. You can also find statistics citing likely salary and hiring prospects that your counselor may not have at her fingertips.
 
These are only a few examples of blended college prep, but they all rely on personal contact and online research. Combining the two really is the best way to get ready for college. As with blended learning, you’ll often supplement information received in person online information, but sometimes, as with selecting classes, you’ll need to start on the web first.
 
Either way, use the web to be proactive in your college prep. Your actions now will get you ready sooner – and more thoroughly – than your classmates!
 
 

 
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