Why participate in a BlendEd class? The Bay Area BlendEd Consortium (BlendEd) provides a unique educational opportunity for MA juniors and seniors, allowing them to access an expanded array of courses as well as an opportunity to work with students and teachers beyond MA. Using a blended model of online and experiential instruction, BlendEd courses represent a unique range of highlevel elective topics enriched by Bay Area resources. BlendEd combines best practices for online learning with our partner schools' strengths in direct classroom instruction and experiential learning, giving students practice in selfmotivation and
independence along with the technical expertise they will need in college and beyond.
How are the classes structured?
Classes meet facetoface a minimum of three to five times per semester, as well as through a mix of allclass and small group online videoconference meetings. The facetoface sessions are held at one of the partner schools or at a specific location relating to the class topic. Students access the class materials through the BlendEd online learning management system (for MA students, this is an online repository similar to myMA). Students will be responsible for determining when and where to complete independent class work, similar to how they now work on homework for their MA courses.
For the online sessions of the course, are the students at home or at MA? Depending on each teacher’s requirements, the synchronous videoconference sessions will happen in the evening and/or over weekends. During the asynchronous, independent work portion of the course, students must be able to manage their time both at school and at home. When and where are the facetoface sessions held? Each course teacher determines when and where the facetoface sessions occur. Often, these gatherings are scheduled at a location specific to the class, such as a film studio, environmental firm, park, etc. Many face-to-face sessions happens on weekends, though teachers are allowed to use one school day per semester for a face-to-face session.
Are there dedicated quiet spaces at MA to work? MA’s Library is always available to students for quiet time and studying. We also recommend that BlendEd students have a desk or table in a quiet room at home in order to participate in the online videoconference classes or small group sessions, as well as to complete homework and independent study. Students also need internet access at home (MA can assist students in obtaining that if needed).
What are the technological requirements for participation in a BlendEd class? Students enrolled in BlendEd courses should have regular and reliable access to a computer with a highspeed internet connection. Some courses may also require a microphone and webcam or specialized software which MA can provide. Please contact Laura Webber (firstname.lastname@example.org), MA’s BlendEd Site Coordinator for support in meeting this expectation.
Who can enroll and is there specific criteria that will be used to determine which students may register for a BlendEd class?
For the 2016-17 school year, the courses are open to juniors and seniors. Each of the partner schools receives three seats in each class, with 3 extra seats reserved as "floaters" for special circumstances. Classes are limited to 18 juniors and/or seniors. Students who have shown a high level of independence, reliability and academic achievement are encouraged to register for a spot in one of the BlendEd courses.
How many BlendEd courses can I take?
Students are allowed to take one BlendEd course per semester.
Can I take a BlendEd course as an 8th class? No. A BlendEd course can be taken as a regular class in a 6class load or as a 7th class with a properly executed petition to exceed course load recommendation.
Is there additional tuition required for taking a BlendEd course?
Tuition for a BlendEd course is covered in MA’s annual tuition and fee structure. MA’s standard financial aid protocols will be followed in situations for which there are additional fees for books, field trips, software, etc.
How will student performance be assessed and evaluated in a BlendEd course, especially if it’s a nonMA teacher? Is there a midterm or interim evaluation? Each teacher will follow his/her own school’s approach to assessment, which will include an interim or midterm evaluation, as well as a final course grade. MA teachers will continue to use our assessment practice of providing rich, specific feedback on assignments, as well as rubrics and interim and course reports.
Is the course schedule the same as MA’s regular academic schedule? BlendEd courses follow a special schedule that does not coincide exactly with MA’s academic schedule. While the BlendEd schedule aligns closely with MA's schedule, there are some differences. Each BlendEd teacher schedules his/her course's spring break, for instance. BlendEd teachers, however, are very aware of special situations--MA's minicourse week, for example--and will work with students to make appropriate adjustments to coursework due dates.
Will my child be able to participate in athletics, theater, music or other after school activities if s/he takes a BlendEd course?
Yes. In most situations, taking a BlendEd course will not interfere with cocurricular activities at MA, although we strongly suggest you speak with your advisor and/or our site coordinator, Laura Webber (email@example.com), Academic Technology Coordinator, to optimize your schedule.
Are parents able to communicate with a BlendEd teacher from another school? Yes, parents receive contact information for their student’s BlendEd teacher. Following our usual MA protocol, parents should first contact the teacher about any issues related to their student, as well as MA’s BlendEd site coordinator, Laura Webber. MA parents may also contact their student’s advisor with any questions or concerns. Who at MA oversees the students’ nonMAtaught BlendEd work? Each school has a site coordinator who, among other things, is tasked with ensuring MA BlendEd students are able to have a positive BlendEd experience – technologically, academically and personally. MA’s BlendEd site coordinator is Liz Gottlieb, and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do colleges view a BlendEd course?
All courses are awarded credit by each school based on a shared rubric that ensures a common set of standards for the quality of instruction, the way students are assessed, and high expectations for student learning. The courses are equal in rigor to our existing elective courses. As online and blended courses have become increasingly common, most schools do not note the instructional mode (online, blended, or facetoface) on transcripts. The BlendEd Consortium follows this practice.
Are these classes UC approved?
BlendEd courses meet iNACOL (International Association for K12 Online Learning) standards. In addition, BlendEd course offerings are UC approved to fulfill the “g” (elective) requirement for 2016-2017. Some courses may also meet “a-f” requirements for 2016-2017. Check with your school Coordinator if you have any questions.
We chose MA because it’s MA, but BlendEd isn’t only MA. Why would my student want to participate in this new endeavor?
MA believes strongly that students must be well prepared to navigate smoothly between inclassroom and digital classroom modes of instruction, as colleges and future employers will seek out people with these skills. Students taking a BlendEd course learn to work independently, manage time effectively, and satisfy their curiosity about topics relevant to them. The BlendEd initiative aligns with MA’s core value of extending learning beyond the classroom and enables students to take advantage of our vast regional resources. And finally, taking a BlendEd class allows students to experience learning with nonMA teachers who are specialists in their subjects and with students from across the Bay Area.
What courses are being offered for 2016-2017?
Bay Area Field Ecology (Fall)
Climate Change: Scientific Principles, Impacts, & Human Responses (Fall)
Creative Writing: Very Short Stories NEW! (Fall)
Mandarin V (Fall)
Seismic Studies in the Bay Area NEW! (Fall)
Bay Area Cinema (Spring)
Beats, Rhymes & Life: An Exploration of Hip-Hop, its History & Global Impact (Spring)
Environmental Justice and the Social Determinants of Health (Spring)
Introduction to Organic Chemistry (Spring)
Web Design & Development (Spring)
#Entrepreneurship NEW! (Spring)
Multivariable Calculus (Full-Year)
Where can I get more information?
Please visit www.blendedconsortium.org for more information or contact Liz Gottlieb at email@example.com.