Rain or Shine, Snow or Sleet – Blended Learning Delivers Every Day

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Who would have thought that blended learning was like the postman? Well, it’s true. Setting up class for blended learning not only help students learn more on a day-to-day basis, but it also keeps them learning and on track during snow and rain a sleet. It’s an accidental benefit of learning for the 21st Century. The promise of 21st Century technology does not mean we have to teach and learn 24 x 7, but it means we can. It means we can fit learning into the day whenever and wherever. It means we can play in the snow and still learn – before and after. My semester started out on slippery ice this year. I teach a weekly 3-hour course on Entrepreneurship at Tufts to highly motivated students, most of whom live on campus. Yet, after the first class session, we skipped 2 weeks before we had another class. Depending on how Mother Nature goes, we may miss another class this week. Am I worried? A bit, but not nearly as much as some of my colleagues who rely purely on teaching in the classroom. Here’s why. Before the semester began, I had my students all register for my course at the 30hands Cloud eClassroom. This got them into the mix of the digital content for the course, the syllabus, the assignments and some discussions. It also set an expectation that students needed to do work regardless of whether we were in class. This was so much more successful than when I …

“Fail Fast” – Teaching the Success of Failure

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  In the past few weeks, I have run into “failure” several times. First, a colleague wanted to have a get together to talk about our collective failures in starting companies, which led to a roundtable discussion. Then, it seemed like I encountered more and more stories of failure at every turn — from my students to my fellow entrepreneurs, from videos I use in my class to articles I came across on the Internet. From the ubiquity of failure, it occurred to me again (my brain has gone down this path many times before) that failure is a natural part of life. I found myself telling my students not to be afraid of failure and, in fact, to embrace it. “Fail fast,” I said, “so you can pick yourself up, redirect your efforts and try something at last slightly intelligently better. This approach often leads to ultimate success. Just because 9 out of 10 startups fail does not mean that they fail forever. It means you may have to fail 9 times before you succeed once. But my students still have trouble embracing failure. As a society, we worship success so much that we think that failure is bad thing instead of part of the learning process. As toddlers, we only learn to walk, because we fall down enough times to figure out how to do it successfully. We only learn to talk, because when we say, “I want food”, it comes out “Goo-goo gaa-gaa”, and we do not …