What It Means to be Blended

[caption id="attachment_1148" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Beautiful GSLIS West Campus at Mount Holyoke"][/caption]

Blended and Online classes offer amazing opportunities to learn from practicing professionals who genuinely want to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of library professionals. What could be better than learning from real world librarians!

Being my first semester, I had no idea what a Blended class actually entailed.  I knew there would be some face-to-face meetings and other meetings online, but I wasn’t sure what that actually meant in practice.

Face-to-face is what it implies – a class meeting on campus in the traditional sense.   My blended class combines face-to-face meetings on Simmons West (Mount Holyoke) campus with synchronous online sessions.  Synchronous means that we all log in at class time – either from home in our PJs or some of us choose to log in together in an empty classroom or in the GSLIS West office. While PJs are appealing, I enjoy the group gathering as it has allowed for some excellent peer interaction and good company with my morning coffee.

In our synchronous meetings, we have live conversations with our professor in South Dakota (who is a practicing University Library Dean) and with each other, and we are able to view the professor’s visuals as if we were in the same room. I love this learning method!  I have heard of other GSLIS blended classes where the online meetings are asynchronous – meaning they are recorded so students are not logged in simultaneously. This is a different kind of experience but has the alternate advantage of time flexibility.

The important thing to remember is that the decision to be synchronous or not varies from professor to professor, so if it is an issue for you, be sure to ask the faculty before you register for the class. I have found the faculty to be wonderfully responsive by email so making inquiries is easy to do.  I have really enjoyed this learning style and look forward to more Blended classes in my future!

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