Blended Learning

What is Blended Learning?

Blended classes are a mixture of traditional classes (5 days/week in class) and some work that can be done out of class – such as watching videos, gathering data for experiments, and online learning opportunities. Blended learning is a combination of best practices of both face-to-face instruction and online instruction techniques. Because blended learning offers some flexibility in the schedule, this will allow for optimized times and places to learn. Essentially, blended learning breaks down the time constraints of the traditional school day. This flexibility in the school day enables differentiation to meet the instructional needs of each student. In addition, blended courses can allow students more flexibility and control over when and where they choose to learn and complete their assignments. Not only does this shift more of an onus on the student, it also helps to prepare students for college and time management skills they will need for the rest of their lives.

How it works?

At SHS, blended classes typically meet face-to-face as a whole class three days a week. On the remaining days, students are responsible for online work and have the class period to use as they wish. Teachers will meet with students regularly to discuss goals, learning targets and student progress. In order to have hybrid privileges (non-traditional), a student must earn a grade of at least 70% or higher (as determined by each blended teacher). For example:

  • A student who has mastered course content might complete the required work online without having to sit through class periods covering content he or she has already mastered.
  • A student who requires additional instruction can get it by visiting the teacher when the class does not meet as a whole to receive one-on-one or small group instruction.
  • If not required to attend class, a student could use the period to meet in small groups, complete work for another class, go off-campus or to rest. He or she can then complete coursework at a time that better suits his or her schedule/learning style.

What it looks like?

SHS Blended Learning from Sycamore School District 427 on Vimeo.

Current offerings for 2020-21

  • Agriculture Business & Resource
  • Agriculture Senior Career Academy
  • Chemistry
  • Creative Writing
  • Dual Credit College English
  • Economics
  • Government/Civics
  • Physics
  • Public Speaking and Communication
  • Senior Composition & Literature
  • Spanish IV
  • TV Production III
  • TV Production IV
  • U.S. History
  • U.S. History (Project Based Learning)

Is Blended for me?

Students should already possess these skills or be willing to work on these skills to be successful in a blended class.

1. Be able to communicate through writing.

​​While working online, nearly all communication will be done through writing. As our society becomes more dependent upon the internet, getting your point across effectively through writing is going to continue to be part of everyday life. It is critical that students be comfortable expressing themselves in writing. In your blended class, you will be expected to utilize large and small group online discussions, wikis, presentations etc. If you are uncomfortable with these skills, you should talk with your teacher for help.

2. Be Self-Motivated and Self-Disciplined.

While you will have more freedom and flexibility in your blended class, you will also have more responsibility. You will need to motivate yourself to do the work when not in your face-to-face classroom. Often times this motivation/self-discipline begins with time management and using your time wisely so you have time for the things you want to do. You must be able to prioritize your time effectively. 

3. Be willing to self-advocate if problems arise.

Many of the tools your teacher would use in a traditional classroom to determine if students are being successful are not available to teachers in the online classroom. As the student, you should ask for help as soon as you realize you don't understand the assignment, can't find the assignment, don't know how to use Canvas/Google Classroom, etc. If the teacher does not know what you need help on, they can't help you. Do not wait until you see the teacher again to ask for help. Use your communication tools such as email to let the teacher know immediately what you are struggling with.

4. Be willing to stay current with your online learning.

Since you will not be in class every day, you will need to understand how to use our Learning Management System (LMS), how to post discussion, submit assignments and how to know when information is due. Since your teacher will be using an LMS class to communicate with you, it's important that you regularly log in to the LMS to check in on the class. You can also set alerts directly to your phone or email to let you know when your teacher sends out an announcement, someone posts to a discussion or an assignment are due.  If you are having trouble with this, please see your teacher.

5. Accept critical thinking and decision making as part of the process. Be able to think through ideas before responding.

The learning process requires that the student be actively engaged by making decisions based upon facts and experiences. You will need to make decisions about what you post and how you say it. You have time to think about meaningful and quality responses instead of just posting "I agree". Remember that respectful testing and challenging of ideas is encouraged; you will not always be right and you should be prepared to respectfully challenge others as well as respectfully accept a challenge. This is a skill that takes time to develop. You should feel comfortable reaching out to your teacher if you need more help in this area.

6. Have access to the Internet/Computer when not at school.

The student will need to complete some online activities/learning and will need to use the internet to do so. If the student does not have internet or computer access at home, they should be able to plan their time accordingly to stay at school and complete their online learning or go to the public library to access a computer/internet.