(I create these images from http://www.sp-studio.de/index.htm)
I took one blended and one online course before. I had a great experience in the blended course. Generally, it is a production course. The purpose of that course is introducing a learning method presented by the multimedia applications. Students were asked to find an existing course (formal or informal, training or instructional) or a learning method. Then, they had to document it or take picture. Finally, they used a website, video clips, or flash etc. to present what they found. For the first several classes, they were face-to-face. The instructor explained what we were doing. Then, each student had to report his/her progress both on the online forum and in the class. The instructors gave us suggestions and answered questions we asked in the class. After we set up our topic and understood what we should do, we hadn’t met until we produced something. However, we still had to post what we had done on the online forum. The meeting for the rest of semester was one-on-one. According to students’ topics, instructor would give them different suggestions in the meeting.
However, I didn’t have a great experience in the online course. The instructor uploaded the insight and outline in each week. Then we were asked to provide our opinion on the online forum.
For me, the online, face to face, and blended courses are the same now. They just provide different way for learners accessing knowledge. The appreciation of these courses is still based on the instructors. No matter what types of courses are if the instructor organizes them well, they are evaluated as a good course. It means that the technology is not applied wildly in the education, because what we do are the same things –report, discussion, and share etc. Moving those things to online is not difficult, but how making them different from before is very difficult.