Reflections on blended learning: A case study at the Open University of Hong Kong

Wing Bo Tso
The Open University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong SAR, China

Teaching presentation skills is by no means an easy task. To do this effectively, a teacher must help the students to learn how to (1) design and organize the presentation content; (2) strengthen their verbal and non-verbal communication skills; and (3) master the use of visual aids. Often, the traditional face-to-face classroom setting falls short in achieving these aims when the lecturer has to teach more than 100 students how to observe small details of body language and vocal skills. A blended learning mode a hybrid of face-to-face and online learning in this case may be a better option than the pure face-to-face learning mode (Fang et al. 2012).

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how blended learning can be implemented to teach university students presentation skills. In the spring term of 2013, ENGL A122F Presentation Skills, a five-credit course for full-time undergraduate students, was first delivered via a blended learning approach at the Open University of Hong Kong. Attempting to combine the best features of the online and face-to-face modes of teaching, the blended delivery course incorporated video and interactive web-based components.

This paper shares the author's experience of how presentation skills can be taught through video lectures and assessed through the online learning environment (OLE), alongside traditional teacher-led lectures and tutorials. Also, it discusses how blended learning, compared to the traditional face-to-face teaching mode, can not only facilitate propositional knowing, but also help learners to achieve experiential knowing and presentational knowing (Heron and Reason 2006). Last but not least, the paper reflects on students' feedback, as well as the challenges when implementing the blended learning mode.