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Strengthening the Conversation in Blended and Face-to Face Courses: Connecting Online and In-Person Learning with Crossover Protocols

Pages 97-105 | Published online: 14 Apr 2017


There is currently strong and widespread support among university administrators for blended learning at the college level, or courses that incorporate some degree of online instruction. As instructors are called on to incorporate online and face-to-face elements into their instruction, they face the critical question of how to intentionally connect the two modalities in ways that strengthen learning. This article first outlines the historical context of social-constructivism's presence in online instruction, and then presents a rationale for the use of “crossover” discussion protocols that connect online forums and face-to-face discussions. The article argues that by drawing deliberately on the benefits of both online and in-person learning environments, crossover protocols help students make more insightful connections among ideas and push their own—and each others'—thinking in unexpected ways. A set of crossover protocols is then provided, along with considerations for implementing them effectively. These practical strategies for facilitating conversations across the two modalities were developed in the author's undergraduate and graduate level courses in English and education and are adaptable across course levels and disciplines. The article concludes with a discussion of how students experience the learning benefits of crossover protocols.

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