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IBLC11-Abstract-The challenges of student engagement on GDL blended learning

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Nannayi Dakat
13 May 2011

Author: Ms Tina Hart

Abstract:

The Huddersfield University Law School has provided the Graduate Diploma in Law since 1998 on a flexible learning basis. In 2010, to widen participation it was decided to offer the course purely through a blended learning basis with no attendance required. Induction would be provided via completion of an online fully integrated e-learning bridging course which would act as a gateway to the Law School e-learning provision.

The programme was primarily designed for those students who could not attend the face to face session, such as; overseas students who would find the cost of travelling to the UK prohibitive, students with family and/ or employment commitments and students with disabilities who would find these programmes preferable

This kind of provision leads to its own challenges for staff and students. It requires detailed planning on pedagogy to ensure that it is appropriate for the online environment. In addition for many staff the development of this type of pedagogy required training in software that they were not overtly familiar with, as well as the development of additional “online” moderation skills to supplement their “offline” teaching skills.

For students adjusting to this new type of pedagogy there was a distinct learning curve. Students were faced with new methods of teaching and learning. Some found becoming proficient with the technology a challenge. This was minimised by the implementation of the e-learning bridging course which was specifically designed to help students familiarise themselves with the technology.

The objective of our paper is to outline the journey that we are taking in developing tools to engage students on our flexible and distance learning courses. The paper will focus on the changes made to the Graduate Diploma in law following its successful re-validation in 2010.

Keywords: Blended Learning, Law, Student Engagement, Challenges

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