5. Choosing Between Face-To-Face and Online Teaching on Campus

5.3. The Case for Multiple Modes

Increasingly, it is becoming difficult to separate markets for particular courses or programs. Although the majority of students taking a first-year university course are likely to be coming straight from high school, some will not. There may be a minority of students who left high school directly for work or went to a two-year college to get vocational training, but now find they need a degree. Especially in professional graduate programs, students may be a mix of those who have just completed their bachelor’s course and are still full-time students, and those that are already in the workforce but need the specialist qualification. There will be a mix of students in third- and fourth-year undergraduate courses, some of whom will be working over 15 hours a week, and others who are studying more or less full time. In theory, then, it may be possible to identify a particular market for mainly face-to-face, blended or fully online learning, but in practice most courses are likely to have a mix of students with different needs.

If, though, as seems likely, more and more courses will end up as blended learning, then it is worth thinking about how courses could be designed to serve multiple markets. For instance, if we take our haematology course, it could be offered to full-time third-year undergraduate students studying biology, or it could also be offered either on its own or with other related courses as a certificate in blood management for nurses working in hospitals. It might also be useful for students studying medicine who have not taken this particular course as an undergraduate, or even for patients with conditions related to their blood levels, such as diabetes.

If for instance our instructor developed a course where students spent approximately 50 per cent of their time online and the rest on campus, it may eventually be possible to design this for other markets as well, with perhaps practical work for nurses being done in the hospital under supervision, or just the online part being offered as a short MOOC for patients. For some courses (perhaps not haematology), it may be possible to offer the course wholly online, in blended format or wholly face-to-face. This would allow the same course to reach several different markets.