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Journal Article

Blended Learning in the Visual Communications Classroom: Student Reflections on a Multimedia Course  pp247-256

Jennifer George-Palilonis, Vincent Filak

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue, Editor: Florin Salajan and Avi Hyman, pp191 - 316

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Advances in digital technology and a rapidly evolving media landscape continue to dramatically change teaching and learning. Among these changes is the emergence of multimedia teaching and learning tools, online degree programs, and hybrid classes that blend traditional and digital content delivery. At the same time, visual communication programs that are traditionally print‑centric have had to make room for Web design and multimedia storytelling courses, as well as technical skills development. To add parsimony to these two areas of study, we chronicle how a blended model has been introduced in a required, 100‑level visual communication course through a longitudinal study that followed 174 students through two versions of the same course, one that used blended learning strategies and one that participated in a more traditional method of course delivery. In combining an analysis of statements made by the participants in weekly journals (n=13,552) and the data gathered through a survey (n=174), we compared reactions between the two groups. Additionally, qualitative data from the journals was used to fully explicate the reactions students had to the course. This study sheds light on the effectiveness of a blended model in the context of students' enjoyment, engagement, and perceived learning outcomes. The results revealed that the blended model was in no way different from the traditional course in terms of engagement and attachment. Journal data revealed students in the blended sections were significantly less negative about the course material, personal achievement, technology, and their emotional reactions than their traditional counterparts. Additionally, statements made by students regarding the issue of fear of the course and problems regarding technology substantially faded over the 15‑week semester. Our overall findings indicate that students are able to adapt well to the technology and processes that make blended learning different from traditional classroom learning. Implications for pedagogy and future research are discussed.


Keywords: blended learning, visual communication, multimedia teaching and learning


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