Developing a BFL strategy


Why develop a course-level strategy for blended and flexible learning? After all, we're all using BFL, so do we really need to write about it? As A/Prof Childs says in the Exploring good practice in BFL, developing a course strategy ensures that students will receive a consistent, considered experience of BFL throughout their course. That doesn't means that all subjects will be the same. But it will mean that thought has been given to how best to blend various approaches and media, what kinds of multi-literacies students require at the st
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Without a unifying strategy, you may find yourself working in lots of different directions, but perhaps not fully achieving your course goals.
art of their degree and as they prepare to move into the professional world, and how best to support the development of these literacies over time. For those indicating BFL as a risk area, this strategy will also form an important part of your Annual Course Performance Report.

Here are some questions and suggestions that are useful to consider when developing your strategy.

* Identify why your taking on a blended and flexible approach to learning and teaching
The temptation is always there to start with the strategy before the reasoning. The result is all too often that strategies fade, lose commitment and become overtaken by the next great new idea. It's easy for FLI or others in CSU to sit back and tell you the benefits of BFL, but really, what's in it for your team? For your students? Are you trying to improve communication and interaction with your DE students? Are you trying to provide more flexible access to resources for students? Are you trying to gradually build students' multi-literacies to help them continue learning through their professional learning networks after graduation? Nail down what you really want to achieve through this strategy, so that you know exactly what you need to target as a course team, and don't end up chasing the next best technology. You may need to look at university documents and talk to some Faculty and School executives to ensure that your goals are in sync with where CSU is heading. Keep your vision focused, and don't try to target to much...just yet.

* Align your strategy with your goals
Once you've identified your goals, check if the BFL approaches you are currently using is helping to meet them.

* How ready are you for implementing your strategy?
You might want to look at the aspirational framework as a way of checking your readiness for your plans. Work with your ED to determine a targeted PD plan to support the implementation of your strategy. What needs to be formal PD, and what can be gained by embracing informal learning and enhancing the personal/professional networks of your team?

* What infrastructure support is around?
When you start moving more towards BFL, you n
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Developing a BFL strategy can be a very empowering activity - but not if it does little more than state the obvious. A really useful strategy will help you develop innovative but manageable plans for enhancing your course over the next 5 years.
eed to know what support is around. Where is your support? How can this site help you? Check our support options page for ideas.

* Keep it simple
The task of implementing a BFL strategy may seem a bit overwhelming, especially since it has so much scope and potential. Reach out for the low hanging fruit initially. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Keep the scope narrow to a limited number of initiatives. Once you can demonstrate effectiveness and tangible ways in which BFL is helping to meet a few simple goals, it will add impetus for widening the scope and reach of your next phase of initiatives.

* Listen
Get your evaluation strategies in place. Listen to students. Listen to staff. What is working, what isn't? Factor in a regular cycle of assessing your evaluative data and rejigging your strategies.

What might a course BFL strategy include?

Again, these are just some ideas:
  • Learning in a digital age - what does this mean for our course, our students, our professional area/s?
  • Rationale - what are our reasons for incorporating BFL?
  • Principles - what are our course principles that underlie all our design decisions? Where have they come from?
  • Pedagogy - When we looked at the course from a pedagogical perspective, what questions were important to us? What strategies did we decide to incorporate, why, and how will we make this happen?
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    Peter Mills getting busy at a recent BFL course symposium in Orange
  • Learning spaces - When we looked at the course from a pedagogical perspective, what questions were important to us? What strategies did we decide to incorporate, why, and how will we make this happen?
  • Interactions - When we looked at the course from a pedagogical perspective, what questions were important to us? What strategies did we decide to incorporate, why, and how will we make this happen?
  • ICTs - When we looked at the course from a pedagogical perspective, what questions were important to us? What strategies did we decide to incorporate, why, and how will we make this happen?
  • Multiliteracies - When we looked at the course from a pedagogical perspective, what questions were important to us? What strategies did we decide to incorporate, why, and how will we make this happen?
  • Evaluation - how will we evaluate our strategy? How will we ensure that future decisions are evidence-based, that is, based on our evaluation data, and on the literature?

Example strategies

Four course teams are currently working on their BFL strategies as a result of the BFL course symposiums. As soon as these are ready, we'll post