Blended Learning and New Literacies: Experiences at the University of Barcelona (Spain)

Cilia Willem,
Martín Aiello,
Dr. Antonio Bartolomé
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The general use of ICT in higher education is currently facing a new challenge. Blended learning is not only about the promotion of on-line activities or computer enhanced learning: the challenge is to guarantee that these and other educational actions promote, through the use of digital technology, critical thinking skills in the learner.

On one hand, learners, future citizens in a permanently changing society, are facing the need for new literacies, digital and media literacy. These concepts are both different and complementary: whereas digital literacy deals with mastering new tools, media literacy emphasises the sensible and responsible use of these tools, as they become increasingly available throughout society and in all walks of life. Media literacy is a higher order concept as it addresses various issues raised by the pervading influence of images and information, to which new technologies have given an unprecedented power of influence.

On the other hand, the university and higher education in general has encountered a paradigm shift, in which the focus of attention has moved from the teaching process to the learning process, and where the student has become central. Therefore, digital technology must be accompanied by strategies that promote, among other aspects, self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning involves the emotional, motivational and meta-cognitive aspects of learning, and allows learners to design their own learning process.

This article analyses an experience at the University of Barcelona, Spain, in the field of Audiovisual Communication, where in a project involving 80 students audiovisual messages were analysed and produced around the topic of racism in the media. Digital technologies were used in the project and were central to it.

It exemplifies the challenge to educate with digital technology in a blended model, to promote certain aspects of self-regulated learning, and to enhance critical thinking in relation to media.

Keywords: Digital Literacy, Media Literacy, New literacies, Blended learning, Self-regulated learning, ICT in higher education, Audiovisual communication
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Blended Learning and New Literacies

Cilia Willem

Associate Professor, Department of Visual Education
Interactive Media Lab (LMI), Universitat de Barcelona


Cilia Willem is an associate professor of audiovisual communication at the Visual Education Department of the University of Barcelona. She has an MA in History for the University of Ghent (Belgium) and in Audiovisual Communication for the UB (Catalonia, Spain). Currently she is working on a PhD in the field of Digital and Media Literacy.

As a researcher she has been involved at the Interactive Media Lab (LMI) of the University Barcelona since 1999, where she manages several European and national projects on eLearning, ICT in Education and Media Literacy. At the moment, she is coordinating eCLIPse/XenoCLIPse, an action-research project in the frame of the eLearning initiative (European Commission) about the portrayal of ethnic and cultural minorities in the media, and how these minorities are empowered by digital media.

Cilia Willem is a member of the research group VALL comunicació_art_educació at the same department, where she works as a production manager for several audiovisual projects. Her specialty is compressing media for streaming over the net.

Martín Aiello

Universitat de Barcelona

Dr. Antonio Bartolomé

Universitat de Barcelona

Ref: T06P0065