The Challenges of Blended Learning: Critically Evaluating the Chinese Language Case
This article reviews the Mid-Career Development Chinese Language course (MCDCL) funded by the British Inter-university China Centre, a project funded from various public sources in the UK. The discussion focuses on how and why the MCDCL course has adopted the blended learning construct and with what outcomes. Using two frameworks for blended learning – the Community of Inquiry and the Sloan-C Pillars – it offers a thorough examination of the MCDCL course, and discusses the results of a survey which was devised to collect feedback from participants on the course. The article concludes that the MCDCL course throws up particular challenges for the blended learning concept as a whole. A detailed evaluation highlights areas for attention ranging from how the course is organised and workloads are balanced, to the approach of teachers in their level of involvement in distance learning, and the overall management of the course with regard to the use of technology, cost-effectiveness and a host of other considerations.
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