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What is a blended course?

Blended learning is an approach to course design that brings together the best of both face-to-face and online strategies.  This combination aims to build from each approach to create an innovative and effective learning experience for adults.

The idea behind a blended approach is the planned integration of online and face-to-face instructional approaches in a way that maximizes the positive features of each respective delivery mode.  For example, inline materials can provide students with flexibility and a way to access engaging multimedia content.

From a student perspective, the appeal of blended learning includes:

  • Flexibility of schedule:  learn anytime, anywhere
  • Control:  students have some level of control over the placing of their learning.  Difficult concepts can be reviewed as often as necessary.
  • Convenience of an online class with many of the social aspects of face-to-face class.

What is Penn State's Video Learning Network (VLN)?

The VLN was created by the Penn State World Campus as a way to give adult learners easy access to a Penn State degree.  Offering courses in this format also will help ensure that courses remain open by aggregating learners at multiple sites.

The VLN technology provides the ability to network learners in geographically separated locations and connects the students in a rich learning experience through natural real-time interaction.

What is the difference between a World Campus course and a VLN course?

All World Campus courses are offered online in a distance learning or asynchronous format.

VLN blended courses offer face-to-face classes where students have numerous opportunities to interact with their instructor and fellow students.  Blended VLN courses also have an online learning component.

How do I interact with my instructor and classmates in a blended VLN course?

VLN courses are broadcast in real-time from a Penn State campus to multiple other Penn State campuses.  A student at a broadcast campus is physically in a VLN classroom with the instructor and classmates.  A student at a receiving campus is in a VLN classroom with classmates and the instructor is seen and heard in real-time through high-definition video and audio.  Students at receiving campuses can ask questions and collaborate with instructors and students at the other participating VLN campuses in real-time.  Outside of class students can interact using technology tools such as discussion boards, Skype, Adobe Connect and email.

Where is the VLN classroom located at Penn State Mont Alto?

Science and Technology Building, Room 106

Will ANGEL be used for delivery of course content?

Yes.  A substantial portion of course materials and assignments are posted to ANGEL.  You may use the computer labs and workstations on campus to access ANGEL.  If you choose to login to ANGEL from home or work, it is essential you have broadband access.  Many blended VLN courses contain multimedia, audio, and video content.

What can I do to be successful in a blended VLN course?

  • Attend every class.  Since most blended courses are offered in a seven-week format and the number of hours spent in the classroom is reduced compared to regular classes, your attendance and participation is critical in every class session.  If you know you are going to miss a class, it is essential you make arrangements with the instructor to make-up the missed work.
  • Keep current with your readings and assignments.  Blended VLN courses move quickly.  Every week you need to make a commitment to keep current with your readings and assignments.  The ability to consistently meet deadlines is very important.
  • Make time in your schedule to learn outside of class.  all materials covered in a regular course section are covered in accelerated blended VLN courses.  In addition to homework hours, you will be spending time with online activities not covered in class.  VLN undergraduate courses may require spending approximately 8 to 12 hours per week on readings and assignments for a 3-credit course.  Plan to spend extra time when you have papers, projects, or exams. 
  • Be both an independent and participatory learner.  Students taking blended VLN courses should be interested in active and participatory learning, both in the classroom and online.

Who is eligible to register for blended VLN courses?

Adult learners interested in enrolling in a credit program may have the option to take courses in the Video Learning Network (VLN) classroom.  Resident instruction (RI) students may be eligible to register for a blended VLN course on a case by case basis in consultation with the Director of Education.

How do I get approval to register in a blended VLN course?

  • First, evaluate your learning style and needs to determine if an accelerated blended VLN course is right for you.  You may wish to discuss the option with your academic advisor. 
  • Please contact Helen McGarry, Interim Director of Continuing Education, at 717-749-4118 or hem11@psu.edu.