It is clear by now that blended learning has the potential to narrow the achievement gap in college classrooms.
The University is in the middle of using a research grant from the Association of American Universities that incentivizes redesigning natural science courses.
Research done by UNC’s professors indicates classrooms that utilize blended learning help to level the playing field for students from groups that traditionally underperform, including minorities and first-generation college students.
Blended learning’s ability to soften the effects of economic and racial injustice in achievement is encouraging, as is the promise that the increased participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields it promotes could benefit all of society.
This issue was the firmest plank of Student Body President Andrew Powell’s campaign platform. His promotion of blended learning classrooms and his enthusiasm in communicating their virtues to students is praiseworthy and should constitute the centerpiece of his legacy.
As Powell’s term winds down, we must keep pressuring teachers and administrators to take steps toward implementing blended learning strategies into classrooms.
Once the campus loses Powell’s voice in promoting blended learning methods, it is the responsibility of prominent voices on campus, including future student government leaders, to make sure the topic does not fall by the wayside.
The University’s progress on blended learning has been a bright spot in a troubled academic year. We should continue to encourage that progress going forward.