"Blending learning" involves the use of multiple delivery methods in a single course. These may include face-to-face meetings, asynchronous discussion, synchronous on-line meetings, video teleconferencing, web or pod casting, etc. Blending technologies can create a dynamic learning environment tailored to a variety of pedagogical and learning styles.

This is the first issue of our BIS blended learning newsletter, designed to keep you current on blended and distance learning initiatives in BIS.

Comments and submissions are welcome. See our website for additional information at www.bisblended.info.


Blended Learning Program Training concludes

Learning Needs Assessment Highlights!

The How & Why of "Blending"

Additional Resources

Upcoming Issues






First BIS Blended Learning Training Program concludes

At the end of the fall semester three brave BIS faculty members - Mary Lyons, Charlotte Matthews, and Matthew White – became the first graduates of our new Blended Learning Training Program. This two-week program was designed to assist BIS instructors in blending e-learning technologies into their BIS courses. It marked a first for BIS and SCPS on several fronts. The training itself was a blended course that integrated Blackboard, one of the primary e-learning components, with face-to-face meetings. The goal was to provide a working understanding of several key e-learning technologies “in context ,” in the actual learning environment. Individualized course design and development support was also made available to the graduates. Elizabeth Fanning, Graduate Assistant, was the architect of the Blended Learning Training Program, under the guidance of Stephanie Scheer Conley, SCPS Director of Instructional Design.

In future issues of this monthly update we’ll ask these instructors to reflect on their blended learning experiences. Initial reaction to the training is encouraging. Mary Lyons reports, “The Training Project itself was a model of teaching and learning that I hope to apply to my own course.” Charlotte Matthews notes that “ In much the same way that writing makes the imagined shape of an idea or object or hypothesis into a real shape, so does blending a face to face class with an online class.  The days between a class's meeting can make murkier the realness of the class.  Blending an online facet with that makes more real, more substantive, what is being discovered in the class.” Conley observes that the blended training format was particularly effective in generating great ideas through the brainstorming session.

The second round of training, designed to prepare instructors for the summer session, will begin in April.

BIS Learning Needs Assessment

As part of the BIS Blended Learning Project, Elizabeth Fanning conducted a learning needs assessment in the fall semester. Here are some highlights from the survey:

  • Both faculty and students appear to have ready access to the technology required to participate in a blended course and have the basic skills needed to adapt to blended delivery methods.
  • To facilitate the integration of Blackboard into BIS instruction, investment needs to be made providing instructors and students with technical and pedagogical ...
    • training prior to participating in blended courses (both student and instructor.
    • just in time, ongoing support to reduce interruptions in instruction and learning.
The How & Why of "Blending"

A short BIS Blended Learning Project Introduction explaining the what, why and how of “blended” or “hybrid” learning is now available at the BIS office. The booklet, along with other information about our voyage into blended learning, is also available on the Blended Learning Project Website at www.bisblended.info


Additional Resources


Stay tuned ...

In the next issue Charlotte Matthews reports on her journey into the blended learning world.

Please direct questions and comments to Glenn Kessler (gkessler@virginia.edu) or Stephanie Scheer Conley (sconley@virginia.edu)