What exactly is blended learning?

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A students view on the new form of teaching at BI

Some of you have probably heard that a new system is about to be implemented to BI, the blended learning system. The first time I heard about this system was during an editorial meeting for Inside. I was told that BI is planning to stream lectures live online so that students can attend the lectures without leaving their comfortable rooms. Other students have told me that it is a system where BI will record lectures and upload them online for students that miss lectures. It was weird to me how different students seemed to have slightly different intakes on this system. In actuality, a lot of people seemed to be ‘unsure’ on the exact nature of this new system. I have met with Kjell Jørgensen, Dean Bachelor at BI, to give you the details.

To be honest, I was very sceptical of this new system. From what I have heard so far, this system seemed like a terrible idea.  If the system simply replaces actual lectures with online videos, in an extreme sense it destroys the purpose of the actual building of BI to exist in the first place.  I was ready to criticize the idea from every angle. Before the interview, pumped up with some morning coffee in my system, I patiently waited for Kjell.

The interview started with a simple question from my side.

– What exactly is the gimmick of this new system?

I was glad to know immediately, that the actual nature of the system is not what I and other students have thought to be.  Kjell answered that the purpose of the system is to “mandate learning.” The Blended learning system creates lecture videos in addition to the actual lectures that already exist.  They are designed to give students new and useful knowledge outside regular lectures.  The videos are not simple replicas of normal lectures.

– What are the particular issues that are aimed to be solved by this method?

– Recent students are only interested in getting good grades.  They are very systematic about their learning, and they simply try to solve the exams instead of gaining more realistic and useful abilities for the real world. 

Aiding the students who want to stay in their rooms and or miss lectures, is not at all the problem Kjell is dedicated to solve. This, I could relate to a lot. I myself am a part of another group that aims to solve the issue of turning ourselves into “surface learners” as well.

At this point I was very satisfied that my misunderstandings towards this system was solved.  But there is still an important point to be addressed.

– What are the downsides of this new system, I asked.

 There was another pause before he answered. 

– It is vulnerable. The entire institution must be committed in order for the system to create real value.  If the faculties are not 100% in, then the students cannot be 100%.

The system requires that faculties, such as the professors to do extra work to create the videos, and change their mindset of teaching.  He recognizes the challenge of achieving this crucial requirement. He also made the claim that he currently faces some ‘difficulty’ gaining 100% commitment from BI faculties, but he insisted that I cover those details.

That is truly a shame.  After hearing what Kjell had to say, I was all in for this new system.  If these videos could in fact provide strong knowledge for the students to useful in the real world, outside of the regular curriculum, I believe it will bring excellent value for all the students.  As a student, It would be nice to learn something interesting and useful for the exam, but is not necessarily tied back to back with the stress of performing well in the exam.

 I could tell from the tone of his voice and his eyes that Kjell is very ambitious and sincere when he claims that he truly wants to bring students at BI superior skills, knowledge and well being.  I hope this article can help encourage some students to be interested in the blended learning system, as well as encouraging commitment of some BI faculties. Some videos are already available online.

Sean Cooper


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