Nagel, D. (2013) Grants support research into blended, distance learning Campus Technology, January 7
Echo360, a vendor of a range of educational technology, including lecture capture technology, has announced the first six winners of grants for researching teaching practices involving the use of technology, including flipped classrooms and blended learning. They include four universities in the USA, and one each in Australia (Curtin) and New Zealand (Canterbury). Each grant is worth $10,000.
Additional information about the grants, as well as PDFs of the proposals submitted by the individual winners, can be found on Echo360’s site.
I have mixed feelings about this. First, it’s good that money is going into research in this area. We need to develop and evaluate a range of models for blended and hybrid learning.
However, there are models that could be developed that are not based on lecture capture. Who is willing to fund independent research that is not tied to a particular commercial product?
Surely this is the role of public national research councils, who in the past have been very slow to fund research into online learning. It’s more than time now for government-funded research councils to put significant money into research in online learning. However, in several countries these research councils have had their budgets decimated, and they tend to be dominated by mainstream academics with no interest in research online learning.
This makes it all the more incumbent on institutions that do move towards a mixed model of delivery to ensure that there are independent and well designed evaluations in place, with a strategy for dissemination to a wider public.