Supported Course Redesign (SCoRe)

What is a Blended Course?

Blended learning is defined as the thoughtful fusion of face-to face and online learning activities in a purposeful and pedagogically valuable manner (Vaughan et al., 2013; Picciano, 2006).

For the purposes of SCoRe, a blended course design means that at least 30% of meaningful student learning occurs in the online learning environment.

The SCoRe Program

Through their participation, faculty secure direct support and funding to engage in the course redesign process. Faculty participants are matched with a redesign team drawn from Western Libraries, Information Technology Services and Teaching Support Centre librarians and staff. Staff and librarians bring expertise in blended learning, eLearning technologies, course design and information literacy to the redesign team. Faculty participants, in collaboration with their redesign team, work to develop course-level learning outcomes, assessments, and learning materials appropriate for a blended course. Courses redesigned through the SCoRe model are evaluated to assess, in part, the effectiveness of the redesigns on students’: self-regulation in learning; approaches to learning and engagement in learning.

Initial design semester
(Fall or Winter, Year 1)

Cohort semester
(Winter, Year 1)

(Year 1)

Redesign semester
(Year 2)

Major milestone:
-course selected for participation in SCoRe

-initial design assessed by SCoRe staff

Major milestone:
-active work with SCoRe Learning Community and course redesign team on course redesign

-funding provided for 1 semester .5 credit buy-out, graduate student hire, and technology & training fund
- redesign sessions occur

Major milestone:
-independent development of course materials (as needed)

-funding continues for graduate student hire


Major milestone:
-redesigned course offered

-report submitted on actual technology & training spending

-redesign assessed by SCoRe staff

The Evidence

Blended learning as an approach to course design is an emerging trend in higher education. The strategy is increasingly being adopted in the design or redesign of university courses in recognition of the transformative potential such a design can have upon teaching and learning (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004).

Benefits to Students

On average, online learning components produce stronger student learning outcomes than solely face-to-face courses, and blended approaches demonstrate the greatest advantage to this end in comparison to purely online courses (Means et al., 2013). Benefits to students found throughout the literature include:

  • enhanced student engagement (Leger et al., 2013; Adekola et al., 2016)
  • increased flexibility with their learning (Adekola et al., 2016; Murray et al., 2016)
  • improved opportunities for social integration, peer/teacher support, and knowledge sharing (Bower et al., 2015)
  • increased participation, learner satisfaction, and enhanced sense of community (Bower et al., 2015)

While students may initially be skeptical of blended courses, they soon recognize the value of blended approaches and express desire to take other blended courses in the future. Murray et al. (2016) found that, at the end of a blended Engineering course, 85% of students expressed desire to take future blended courses. This was despite the fact that only 5% initially believed they would have a successful learning experience at the outset.

Benefits to Instructors

In general, blended approaches afford instructors the tools to better engage in their teaching with positive implications for course experiences (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). A study by Napier et al. (2011) found instructors who blended their courses reported:

  • creative management of out-of-class time that benefitted instructors’ schedules
  • improved quality of interaction with students
  • opportunity to play with teaching strengths and technology in creative ways

Redesigning for Blended

Taking a blended approach can put increased time demands and stress on instructors (Graham et al., 2005). Institutional partnerships that offer a supportive framework for course redesign alleviate the pressure of the process by helping instructors to navigate curricular and technical concerns (Brown, 2016).


Gavan Watson
Associate Director eLearning
Teaching Support Centre
Phone: (519) 661-2111, ext. 84612


Adekola, J., Dale, V. H.M., and Gardiner, K. (2016) Student transitions in blended learning. Stirling Learning and Teaching Conference 2016: Changing Places: Student Transitions in Higher Education, Stirling, UK, 20 Apr 2016.

Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G. E., Lee, M. J. W., & Kenney, J. (2015). Design and implementation factors in blended synchronous learning environments: Outcomes from a cross-case analysis. Computers & Education, 86(C), 1–17. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2015.03.006

Brown, M. G. (2016). Blended instructional practice: A review of the empirical literature on instructors’ adoption and use of online tools in face-to-face teaching. Internet and Higher Education, 31, 1-10. doi:

Garrison, D. R. & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education.The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105. doi:

Graham, C. R., Allen, S., & Ure, D. (2005). Benefits and Challenges of Blended Learning Environments. In M. Khosrow-Pour (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, First Edition (pp. 253-259). Hershey, PA. doi: 10.4018/978-1-59140-553-5.ch047

Leger, A., Godlewska, A., Adjei, J., Schaefli, L., Whetstone, S., Finlay, J., et al. (2013). Large First-Year Course Re-Design to Promote Student Engagement and Student Learning. Toronto, ON: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Baki, M. (2013). The effectiveness of online and blended learning:  A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Teachers College Record, 115, 1-47.

Napier, N. P., Sonal, D., Smith, S. (2011). Transitioning to blended learning: Understanding student and faculty perceptions. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 15(1), 20-32.

Picciano, A. G. (2006). Blended Learning: Implications for Growth and Access. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(3), 95–102.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press.