First steps towards a blended pre-sessional: Challenges and reflections

Debra Jones and Hazel Newton

Abstract

Our aim is to address a number of significant challenges facing pre-sessional courses in a time of increasing internationalisation and limited resources. In addition, we want to respond to the requirement for university students to be autonomous and collaborative learners with digital literacy skills during their degree and beyond. This paper describes our attempt to transform a traditional face-to-face pre-sessional into a blended programme where digital and classroom content are fully integrated. In line with the SAMR model (Puentedura, 2014a), our ultimate goal is to go beyond simply digitising workbook activities (Substitution and Augmentation) towards using online collaborative spaces to provide students with opportunities to collaborate, create, co-construct and critique content (the 4Cs). In this way, we are seeking to transfer our social constructivist approach to knowledge creation in the physical classroom into the digital domain, thus transforming our students’ learning experience (Modification and Redefinition). Specifically, we plan to use digital tools to develop higher order skills of analysing, evaluating and creating, as well as assessment literacy. This paper will present the first stages of our digitisation project and reflect on lessons learned and ways forward.

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