Teaching Shakespeare through blended learning
This paper describes and discusses experimentation with the use of blended learning in teaching Shakespeare. Previous iterations of the subject in a traditional lecture and tutorial format had seen a decline in student attendance and a fall in student achievement at the higher grade levels. A further complicating issue was the range of expectations from the cohort, which comprised students from Creative Writing, Drama, and Education, a factor which also highlights the cross-disciplinary nature of teaching Shakespeare. A blended learning and lectorial format was employed to facilitate small group discussion of the plays in conjunction with a wider social and historical overview. Student feedback indicated that the changes to the delivery method were received positively, although some questions do remain concerning levels of student engagement and the specific disciplinary needs of student cohorts. The findings of the teaching of this subject will translate usefully to other fields and disciplines, especially as more and more subjects take up blended learning. The findings indicate that it is not enough to take up new technologies in the teaching of a unit. The learning environment must also be rethought and reconceptualised.
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