Workshop on Blended Learning: Approaches, Trends, Research and Publication Opportunities


Prof. Norman Vaughan
Department of Education
Mount Royal University

Prof. Norman Vaughan, PhD, is a Professor at the Department of Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has co-authored the books Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry (2013) and Blended Learning in Higher Education (2008) and he has published a series of articles on blended learning and faculty development. Prof. Vaughan is the Co-founder of the Blended Online Design Network (BOLD), a member of the Community of Inquiry Research Group, the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning and he is on the Editorial Boards of numerous national and international journals.

Date: 30 November 2016 (Wednesday)
Venue: Room A1217, 12/F, Block A, Main Campus, the Open University of Hong Kong, Homantin, Kowloon [Map]

Part 1: Blended Learning Approaches and Trends
10:00 am – 11:00 am
According to a survey conducted over ten years ago, more than 80% of higher education institutions in the United States offer courses in a blended format (Arabasz, Boggs, & Baker, 2003). In the words of Gladwell (2000), we have gone over the “tipping point”; blended learning has become an educational epidemic. The three societal forces that have converged (the perfect wave) to drive this epidemic are technology, financial constraints, and quality concerns. The blended approaches to learning that have arisen to address these forces have led to three major non-contradictory affordances – effectiveness, efficiency, and convenience. The result is an era of engagement and sustainable communities of inquiry. Blended learning has become the dominant paradigm in 21st century higher education. In a special edition of the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks dedicated to blended learning, Laumakis, Graham, and Dziuban (2009) state “… the impact of blended learning is potentially monumental – permanently changing how students interact with higher education …” (p.86).

In addition, there has been an increased focus on the topic of student engagement in light of rising tuition costs and concerns about student success and retention rates. In response to these issues, many educational institutions have adopted a blended approach to courses and programs by combining face-to-face and online opportunities for learning. This part of the workshop will identify and discuss blended learning approaches and trends in higher education. It will focus on the topics of student engagement, blended models, advantages, disadvantages, and the role of a successful teacher in this type of educational environment.

Part 2: Blended Learning Research and Publication Opportunities
Time: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Abstract: Drysdale, Graham, Spring, and Halverson (2013) completed an analysis of research trends in dissertations and theses studying blended learning. Their study indicated that current research topics are focused on learner outcomes, dispositions, instructional design, interaction, comparison, demographics, technology, and professional development. This part of the workshop will highlight blended research trends in the following areas:

1. Institutional and program case studies
2. Professional (faculty) development initiatives
3. Student engagement and success
4. Faculty perspectives

Wright (2016) has indicated that the list of conference and publication opportunities for blended learning research continues to grow but there are increasing concerns about quality and competence. This part of the workshop will describe processes for presenting and publishing study findings in reputable and high profile journals.

References: Arabasz, P., Boggs, R., & Baker, M. B. (2003). Highlights of e-learning support practices. EDUCAUSE Research Bulletin, 9. Retrieved from:

Drysdale, J. S., Graham, C. R., Spring, K. J., & Halverson, L. R. (2013). An analysis of research trends in dissertations and theses studying blended learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 17, 90-100.

Gladwell, M. (2000). The tipping point: How little things can make a big difference. Boston: Little Brown.

Laumakis, M., Graham, C., & Dziuban, C. (2009). The Sloan-C pillars and boundary objects as a framework for evaluating blended learning. Journal for Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(1), 75-87. Retrieved from:

Wright, C. R. (2016). Educational technology and education conferences for June to December 2016, Edition #35. Retrieved from:

Enquiries: Dr Manfred Wu (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Tel: 2768 6786

This event was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/IDS16/15).

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