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As DIT strives to enhance the transition of students into third level education, a number of priority areas were identified as part of the ongoing STEER (Student Transition, Expectations, Engagement, Retention) initiative. Ultimately the onus is on DIT to enable students to become self-directed learners. Blended learning is positioned as a solution to aid in this transition. It has been described as "the combination of traditional face-to-face teaching methods with authentic online learning activities" (Davies & Fill, 2007, p. 817). However, it is not without risk to assume that first year students have a natural affinity with blended approaches, as Garrison and Vaughan (cited in Moore & Gilmartin, 2010, p.4) opined "those who have grown up with interactive technology are not always comfortable with the information transmission approach of large lectures. Students expect a relevant and engaging learning experience". The purpose of our project is to provide a rationale for redesigning a module for blended delivery and how blended learning can be implemented, with specific focus on first year undergraduate modules. It is hope that this report can help address current challenges in the application of blended learning, and also make a definite contribution to the laudable STEER goals. This report will initially consider the background to blended learning and the challenges associated with the approach, before finally exploring the practical implications of introducing blended learning to early stage students in a staged fashion and presenting a practical "How to guide" for blended learning.
Doyle, S., Moore, M., Murphy, L. & Sewell, G. (2017) Embedding a Blended Learning Approach from First Year. Dublin: Technological University Dublin.