MA Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Blended Learning in a Digital Age (Distance)

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC77022
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


There is no one universally agreed definition of ‘blended learning’, though it is commonly perceived in terms of different instructional modes, methods and uses of learning technologies in a range of teaching contexts, both face-to-face and online. The course unit will allow participants to think about the potential of blended learning in their teaching context, what form that blended learning might take and ways of effectively designing blended learning courseware for that context, or aspects of that context.

Specifically the course will cover:

  • understandings of the term ‘blended learning’ in the literature;
  • rationales for  blended learning  in different learning contexts;
  • rationales for blending different technologies for learning, e.g.: VLEs with social media (e.g. wiki and podcasting);
  • practical explorations of blended courseware development;
  • instructional design principles as guiding frameworks for the creation of effective blended courseware.
  • evaluation of existing blended courseware


EDUC77022 DTCE DL Conditions (Programme 05872 & 07737)

Basic ICT literacy, i.e. use of Windows, Mac OS or Linux; word processing, email and the internet.


This unit aims to:

  • develop an understanding of the potential of blended learning in different learning contexts and what the term ‘blended’ might signify in those contexts;
  • explore the potential, in blended learning, of a range of software including: virtual learning environments (with a particular focus on Moodle); personal learning environments; e-portfolios; social software genres;
  • explore the fields of instructional design and project management for blended learning;
  • review, evaluate and create effective blended learning materials;
  • gain the evaluation /practical skills to assemble blended courseware using different tools.

Teaching and learning methods

Input and discussion materials for the course unit will be presented in the open source virtual learning environment, Moodle. There will be some face-to- face classes for onsite students and desktop video conferencing tools will be used for synchronous meetings with distance learners.
After initial input and examination of key topics using a variety of resource materials: readings, case studies, examples of courseware, the participants will produce a project plan to create an exemplar of blended courseware that will meet the needs of an identified target group in a particular learning situation. They will be expected to present their project plan with appropriate reference to the literature, to justify their ideas and their design to the rest of the seminar group for approval and then to go forward to produce their finished courseware exemplar. A final report analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the final courseware making use of the literature and judged against the criteria outlined in the original project plan will be the final output.

Learning Hours:




Hours Allocated


Direct teaching input (including workshops and synchronous online seminars)


4 hours

Directed online study



Independent reading



Asynchronous computer-based tasks including online forum exchange/collaborative activity









Total Hours




Knowledge and understanding

  • demonstrate an understanding of the nature of blended learning for their teaching context, or aspects of it;
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of research and current issues in the design and delivery of blended learning materials.

Intellectual skills

  • demonstrate their ability to evaluate different types of delivery environment for blended learning courseware;
  • reflect critically on the development process and on the development of their skills and understanding.

Practical skills

  • demonstrate advanced skills in the creation of blended learning courseware;
  • demonstrate the ability to analyse needs and project plan within teaching, learning and/or training contexts;
  • convey their blended courseware ideas clearly through oral presentations.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • enhanced skills in academic literacies including academic presentation, information processing (on- and offline) and online networking;
  • enhanced skills in using digital technologies;
  • enhanced skills in interpersonal and intercultural communication;
  • enhanced skills in team work and collaborative practice;
  • an appreciation of the value of reflection in professional practice;
  • autonomy and enhanced metacognitive strategies with regard to study skills and further professional development.

Assessment methods


Assessment task

Word Length or Equivalent

Weighting within unit

An initial project plan presentation supported by a rationale

10 /15 minute presentation with 5  minute questions and answers

This is not formally assessed

A final presentation of the materials accompanied by a 1500 word executive summary.

The design of a ‘detailed blended learning plan’ for a specific learning context and a rationale critically reflecting on the plan



Feedback methods


Recommended reading

Beetham, H., Sharpe, R. (2007) Rethinking pedagogy for a digital Age: Designing and delivering e-learning. London, Routledge.

Chapelle, C. (2006) Assessing language through computer technology. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Collis,B., Moonen, J. (2001) Flexible learning in a digital world: Experience and expectations. London, Kogan Page.

Levy, M., & Stockwell, G. (2006) CALL dimensions: Options and issues in computer-assisted language learning. New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Littlejohn, A., Pegler, C. (2006) Preparing for blended e-Learning: Understanding blended and online learning. London, Routledge.

Oblinger, D. (2005).Educating the net generation. EDUCAUSE e-book, Boulder, Colorado.

Sharma, P., Barrett, B. (2007) Blended learning. Oxford, Macmillan Education

Stefani, L., Mason, R., Pegler, C.(2007) The educational potential of e-portfolios: Supporting personal development and reflective Learning. London, Routledge.

Thorne, K. (2003) Blended learning: How to integrate online and traditional learning. New Jersey, Kogan Page.

Weller, M. (2007) Virtual learning environments: Using, Choosing and developing your VLE. London, Routledge.

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Susan Brown Unit coordinator

Additional notes

This is an optional course unit for MA Digital Technologies, Communications and Education distance learning students.

NB: It is advised to contact the tutor if you wish to take this unit as an option as availability may be limited.

Basic ICT literacy, i.e. use of Windows, Mac OS or Linux; word processing, email and the internet.
This course unit complements the focus of EDUC70050 Teaching and Learning Online

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