F2-AL3-5 - Apply Online and Blended learning theory to teaching practice for STEAM Education

2. Research-to-Practice Work In Progress
Richard, Yu-Chang Li1
1 University of the Sunshine Coast

(Full paper) Along with the development of information and communication technologies, the way of teaching, especially in higher education, has been gradually shifted the focus from providing the traditional in-person learning experience to the more efficient online or blended learning approach. Many researches and institutions have started to make a thorough inquiry of the principles and models of this unconventional learning method due to its popularity and flexibility. For example, Kelly (2011) has identified the common mistakes that appear in blended course design, including the adoption of an add-on model, the lack of coherence between online and face-to-face modes, and the attempt of direct conversion from one mode to the other. Reeves & Reeves (2012) also unified five core strategies as the guideline of designing and teaching online or blended subjects for tertiary education to ensure that this approach reaches its maximum leverage. They suggested that a well-planned online and blended learning environment should be pedagogy-oriented not technology-oriented, is begin with reviewing the core components of the subject rather than considering what technologies can be used; aligning the teaching context constructively with the expected learning outcome; using both constructivist and collaborative learning theory within the community of inquiry (COI) framework to maintain effective levels of cognitive, social, and teaching presences; taking the diverse age groups and potential pedagogical effectiveness into account for the selection of adopting new technologies; and engaging in formative evaluation for the continuous enhancement of existing blended subjects.

This article will investigate the application of the above strategies with the pedagogy of the Creative Industries sector at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), particularly focus on the Bachelor of Design - Serious Game Design. This highly interdisciplinary subject has unique challenges of balancing artistic vision, storytelling ability, technical knowledge, and collaboration skills when developing an effective learning environment compared to other subjects within the STEAM fields. The investigation will primarily focus on three aspects, including the alignment of seven critical components (objectives, content, model of instruction, learner tasks, teacher roles, technology roles, and assessment) of the online or blended learning environment, which was proposed by Reeves & Hedberg (2003) with the existing teaching practice; the construction of consistent and effective learning experience with cognitive, social, and teaching presence across the subject; and the opportunity of developing formative evaluation to the blended learning environment. These approaches provide insight into how online and blended learning can greatly facilitate the learning experience and teaching practice in STEAM education.