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University to Look at Effectiveness of Blended Learning in Computer Science

University to Look at Effectiveness of Blended Learning in Computer Science for Greater Implications

Whether or not blended learning is an effective method of teaching remains unknown as the complexities of the learning style make conclusive research difficult; many institutions are looking for different ways to get definitive results.

Carnegie Mellon University will try its hand at determining if blended learning will "meet the growing need for computer science courses without also increasing staff or classroom space," according to T.H.E. Journal.

The university will begin doing research this year in a popular introductory to computer science course and will pass along its success to high school classrooms as early as 2016, the article said.

"Associate Professor Jacobo Carrasquel, who teaches Data Structures and Algorithms, a course popular with non-computer science majors, will largely replace formal lectures with videos and optional mini-lectures."

He will also use online software to determine what areas students need more in-person instruction with and will meet with students in small groups once identified to provide instruction on those topics.

Carrasquel told T.H.E Journal he believes this method of teaching- less in-person instruction and more time with smaller groups to determine individual needs- will best help for students to be successful in the computer science field. He called it the alternative to "teaching in the middle."

This practice will begin a trial period in the fall semester and is planned to be fully implemented by spring. Carrasquel, Carnegie Mellon University, and supporter Google (which has provided $200,000 in grants to help fund the endeavor) hope the research will help find better instructional practices for all academic fields and for the K-12 classroom, as well.

"In another phase of the project, Carrasquel will begin work with a consortium of high school instructors with the hope to pass on some course materials to them that they can use in their classes beginning in fall 2016. Plans also call to share the materials with community college instructors," the article said.

Read more about the project here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/26/2015

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