Blended learning—a combination of
face-to-face and online media, with "seat time" significantly reduced—is
an increasing proportion of instruction in U.S. higher education.
Supplementing wholly face-to-face courses and wholly online asynchronous
courses with technology is nearly ubiquitous.
Blending grows as people recognize the value
of asynchronous learning. An August 2001 report from Eduventures
notes that "roughly 1.3 million postsecondary students [are] taking
online courses" (Evans 2001). The National Center for Education
Statistics (2002) reports that in the 1999-2000 academic year, eight
percent of undergraduate and ten percent of graduate students participated
in distance education. A National Governors Association report on
the "The State of E-Learning in the States" noted that "58% of all
two- and four-year colleges offered distance learning courses in
1998; 84 percent of all colleges expect to do so by 2002" (NGA 2002).
Primary Research surveyed seventy five distance learning programs;
the mean annual enrollment growth rate for 2002 was 41% (Primary
Research 2002). The Campus Computing Project (2001) reported the
number of institutions that have selected a single platform for
course management increased in 2001 to 73 percent (from just over
50 percent the year before). Already in 1998, according to the NCES
(2002b), forty percent of full-time faculty made use of "course
specific web sites."
The literature about blended
courses is full of examples from all disciplines, at all levels
across the spectrum of education, and with wide variation in technologies
used and in face-to-face meeting time.
Blended learning courses
can replace synchronous classroom seat time with asynchronous online
learning activities so that instruction occurs both in the classroom
and online. Given the fluidity of the technologies and the near
infinite number of ways that technology is applied and courses are
organized in higher education, the presence of both conditions distinguish
blended from wholly online and wholly classroom programs and courses.