Because Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, has too many students signing up for some of its computer science courses, the institution is planning a “blended learning” approach to the courses to meet demand this fall.
The program, funded by a $200,000 prize from the Google Computer Science Capacity Awards program, will be like other blended learning courses, but also combine video lectures with optional mini-lectures and group meetings with instructors to reinforce concepts that need to be taught in person. If successful, some of the materials from the course could be used in high schools next year.
While there are no guarantees, some research indicates the Carnegie Mellon approach should work, according to a report for Slate. A study by Columbia University’s Community College Research Center found that students taking hybrid courses had results similar to those taking traditional classes. Other research has found the blended-learning model helped poor-performing algebra students do better than their counterparts in a teacher-led class.
“Carnegie Mellon’s determinate efforts provide a spark of hope—if the school is successful, others may follow in its path,” Amy X. Wang wrote in a Future Tense blog post. “Perhaps we will begin to see more diverse teaching methods, as well as fewer students crouching in the aisles of overcrowded lecture halls.”