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Watch Professor week introduce the learning for week 5.

Until now, we have focused on the different dimensions of blended and hybrid learning, identified some key technical skills and started a discussion about learning design models.

This week, I argue that knowledge and capabilities in these areas, on their own, are not enough. I believe that it’s also crucial to understand that designing teaching and learning in Higher Education requires knowledge of the wider political and regulatory environment in which universities operate. It’s also important to remember that learning design takes place within an institutional context that in addition to providing guidance and support, imposes policies, standards and procedures that must be adhered to.

It is for this reason that I think it’s useful to think of blended and hybrid learning design as a complex practice. That’s to say, one that is mediated not just by design knowledge and skills and the affordances of digital technologies, but by the wider contexts within which it takes place. These contexts, as Sobe and Kowalczyk (2012: 57) explain, and as we will learn this week, serve to both constrain and enable designer agency:

Context can operate as externally imposed categories that enclose, disable and deny access to resources, opportunities, agency and subject positions. In like measure, inscriptions of context can sometimes enable, increase access to resources and opportunities (…)

What context (this could be an institutional, cultural, socio-economic or even political context) do you work in and what impact does it have on the way you design learning for your students? Use the comments below to share your thoughts.

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Blended and Hybrid Learning Design in Higher Education

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