Blended learning in higher education: How students perceive integration of face-to-face and online learning experiences in a foreign policy course

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

The paper presents research exploring university students’ perceptions of the integration between face-to-face and online contexts of their experience of learning. Students from a large Australian university were interviewed (semi-structured interviews; N=20) and surveyed (through open-ended questionnaires; N= 59) about their perceptions of integration between face-to-face and online discussions in a third year foreign policy course. Their responses were analysed using both qualitative methodology, drawing on phenomenographic principles and quantitative statistical analyses. Students’ descriptions reflect qualitative variation in the levels of perceived integration of blended learning, variation that can be mapped across four hierarchical categories. Statistical analyses revealed that the quality of integration of blended learning was reflected by students’ academic performance. That is, students who tended to describe integrated perceptions of blended learning also tended to perform better academically compared to students who displayed less integrated perceptions of blended learning. Implications of the findings are discussed from the perspective of educational research and practice.

Keywords: integration of blended learning, face-to-face learning, online learning