Advice for applicants in 2016 (Theme: Blended learning)
Many English language programmes around the world are now “blended”; in other words, they combine an element of synchronous interactive study (usually face-to-face) with an element of asynchronous individual study (usually online). But what is best practice when delivering courses this way? What challenges and opportunities does this context present for teachers and learners?
This year’s Teacher Research Programme aims to encourage teachers who want to investigate aspects of their teaching in a blended context. Examples of potential research questions include:
- How can I keep students motivated to participate fully in both synchronous and asynchronous parts of the course?
- How is learner autonomy related to successful independent study? How can I develop my students’ self-study abilities?
- To what extent are the face-to-face and online components of my course integrated and complementary?
- How can I provide appropriate communicative practice in my face-to-face lessons of what the students have studied independently online?
- Which elements of our Learning Management System (LMS) are most effective at facilitating student engagement (e.g. forum, wiki, blog)?
- To what extent do my students’ learning styles influence the activity types they prefer in the face-to-face and online environments?
- What relationship exists, if any, between my students’ age and their engagement with different elements of their blended course?
- What balance of face-to-face and online learning is most suitable for the students in my institution?
Completing the application form
To apply for the Teacher Research Programme, first you must submit your basic details. After you click "submit", you will receive a full application form by email. In this application form, you will need to explain the following things very clearly:
- Focus of the project: A one-sentence summary of what you are interested in.
e.g. Encouraging active participation in both parts of a blended course (online and face-to-face)
- Why is it important for your school/college?
e.g. Because our students often start their course enthusiastically but don’t sustain this involvement, and we want to better understand how to keep them motivated to study both together and independently.
- What research activities are planned?
e.g. We will investigate whether students are more or less motivated to participate in different course elements when they themselves help determine what is done online and what is done in class. We will elicit students’ opinions about the purpose of online and face-to-face course elements and give them the chance to choose what is studied/practised in the different environments. We will monitor whether this affects their attendance and ability to complete tasks appropriately and on time.
- How will you measure the result?
e.g. In the beginning of the course, we will monitor students’ attendance and ability to complete tasks appropriately and on time, using data available in the LMS (Learning Management System). We will then elicit their suggestions as to what is studied/practised in the different parts of the course, make any appropriate changes, and then monitor their attendance and task completion again. We will use questionnaires to elicit their opinions on any differences we notice in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ conditions.
Selection criteria: how will we decide which projects to support?
- How clear is the purpose of the project?
- Is it relevant to this year's theme - blended learning?
- Does the proposed research methodology seem likely to lead to useful results?
- Is it practical?
- How interesting will the outcomes of the project be for other teachers?
Terms and conditions
Proposals submitted to the Teacher Research Programme are subject to the following terms and conditions:
- An application can be made by an individual teacher, by several teachers or by an institution, but there must be only one nominated proposer.
- The nominated proposer will receive the designated funding. This person can then decide if and how to distribute those funds if there are other people involved in the project.
- The research must be undertaken by practitioners themselves, i.e. teachers investigating their own practice.
- The host institution (school or college) must support the project.
- The project must be undertaken within the dates detailed in the schedule on this website (i.e. for the 2016 programme, between March 2016 and March 2017).
- All research outcomes belong to the proposer or their host institution, but Cambridge University Press has the right to make use of the research outcomes in its publicity and communications.