Mostly online business learning?

We need some better words to describe the diversity of blended learning.

This brand new course BSc Professional Development in Business – which is the degree underpinning University of Brighton’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) – will be “mostly” online with just six days of face to face workshops. Intended for employed staff who wish to study for a business degree alongside their paid work, the course materials are primarily licensed from the Open University and are thus of excellent quality. The assessment is done by UoB academic staff and meets the needs of employers as well as students by offering a work-based element to most assessment.

Unlike our full time undergraduates, these students will have short breaks at Easter, Summer and Christmas, following a more work-oriented schedule.

But to compare this method of study with the typical blended uni course would be comparing apples and buckets – most “blended” uni courses favour face to face sessions with some online backup and further activities or reading, ie just an extensive use of a virtual learning environment.

MOOCs are spawning new acronyms all the time so what about MOBs and SOBs (mostly online blends and slightly online blends)??

 

Inspiring meeting of the BeL research group today

The Business eLearning research group is part of CIMER research centre in Brighton Business School and today we had an update meeting, as always producing stimulating conversation over cake.

The group was established 12 years ago with a dual mission – to research areas of elearning in relation to business and management, and to support colleagues in the Business School with the use of technology in learning and teaching. We now have five academic members of staff involved and supervise 3 postgraduate research students in related fields.

Activities with which we are currently involved:

  • BSc Professional Development in Business – a part-time blended learning undergraduate degree for people in work, which is based on Open University course material and is assessed and supported by Brighton Business School tutors. This is a pioneering course combining the best online materials from OU and extra tuition and support from our staff plus assessments which are newly designed to relate to students in work. The course is due for validation next month and we are hoping to build it into a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, open for admission in 2017.
  • Online taster programme for students considering coming to university to study business – Andrea Benn and a team from BBS successfully won funding from Widening Participation to develop an hour long online taster programme which has now been designed and handed over to WP. The process and learning from it have been written up as a paper which is to be delivered at the European Conference on ELearning 2016 in Prague by the team, and has also been accepted as an entry for the elearning Excellence Awards this year. The programme is based on Edublogs and can be accessed via any platform on any device.
  • One of our research students – Ibrahim Zalah – has had a paper accepted for the Doctoral Workshop at the ECEL 2016 conference on  The Acceptance and use of E-learning Technologies by Saudi Secondary Teachers.
  • Business School teaching and learning event – every summer, staff get together to review what they do, and this year we are proposing a number of innovations which have been pioneered either by or with the support of BeL group members, ranging from mobile applications which engage students in large lecture sessions, to the online taster session mentioned above, plus problem-based learning experiences, to using online business game simulations.
  • Student Social Media Showcase (SSMS 2016) – runs again for the third time this year. Originally established at the European Conference on Social Media hosted by BeL research group in Brighton in 2014, the SSMS was an event which offered an online showcase of videos in which students presented their research on or with social media, and which was shared with schoolchildren in 2014. Last year, the SSMS went purely online with new student entries and prizes for the best videos. In 2016, we are taking the SSMS entries and video showreels to the Big Bang event, focussing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, on 29th June at Ardingly Showground where thousands of schoolchildren will get a chance to see what kind of social media impacts students at uni are interested in.
  • Trevor Nesbit, a new member of the BeL group on the academic staff at BBS, is close to submitting his PhD which discusses interactive collaboration and questioning through mobile devices in the classroom.
  • We also have two other FT research students working hard on their respective research studies – one relating to the personal learning networks and environments of female university students in Saudi Arabia and another looking into SMEs and how they support the learning of key workers with dyslexia when so much learning is screen-based.
  • Members of the group also edit the Journal Interactive Learning Environments for Routledge, a journal for which the impact factor is increasing and submissions are so strong, we have doubled issues in size this year.

A bumper package of activity – well done the BeL group!