Humanities Faculty Present “Fusion Courses” at NMHEAR

© Western New Mexico University

The WNMU humanities department presented an innovative instructional model dubbed “Fusion Courses” to other higher education leaders in the state last week at a conference (link to focused on assessment and retention. Four faculty members discussed how the university’s English, composition, communication, and philosophy programs have all integrated this pedagogical approach within their curriculum, bringing together online and face-to-face classes through the use of technology.

“Fusion courses facilitate interaction between students in both media with each other,” says Associate Professor of Speech and Communication Dr. Benjamin Cline, who shared how he used a fusion course to teach Small Group Communication, promoting collaboration through zoom and lecture capture.

This model combines the best practices from both online and face-to-face teaching. WNMU Humanities Chair Kate Oubre and past chair John Gist together birthed the model, which allows face-to-face classes, demanded by the students, to continue being offered in a higher-education environment that sees much of its growth online.

Two CRMs fused in a single Canvas shell, fusion courses have face-to-face students meeting part time and interacting online as well, while online students interact only over the web, even when in touch with their face-to-face peers.

Drs. Cline and Oubre, along with Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy Dr. Phillip Schoenberg and Associate Professor of English and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Heather Steinmann, all presented this model, which has become a standard for courses across the department at WNMU.

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