By ASHLEY LONG
Students have the option of taking a traditional classroom course or taking a hybrid. A hybrid course is where there is a carefully planned blend of both traditional classroom instruction and online learning activities. Students are able to make meaningful connections with their instructors and other students, without being required to travel to campus on a regular basis, as the majority of the coursework can be completed on the Internet.
Rather than having students sit in a lecture hall taking notes, instructors can teach through more “active-learning” assignments such as case studies, self-tests, tutorials, and online group projects, all of which are available over the Internet.
The most important educational benefits are how hybrid courses help improve writing and computer skills. Hybrid classes also encourage self-directed learning, time management, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in those who participate in the programs as well.
In addition to the obvious academic advantages, hybrid courses are also making it easier for more people to get a quality education. That’s because hybrid courses require limited on-campus attendance, which means they are more accessible to students. “Taking an online course is great, because the flexible class schedule allows me to work more hours at my job,” said Katrina Sansalone.
How does a hybrid course work for the faculty members who teach them? “It works well, but it is a lot of work,” said Professor Julie Stratton. “If I miss something in the lecture, I can easily Email the information to all students or post it to a discussion area. The additional online delivery method sometimes allows for more in-depth exploration through the hybrid portion, as well as having more current information to supplement the text.”
The structure of a hybrid course allows for flexibility. What kind of student should look into taking a hybrid class? “This depends on the student. Something, hopefully, advisors help in guiding students through when they select classes. If a student works well independently, needs extra time to review material, has no problems with computers (whether it be using them or accessing them) and is looking to be more flexible in his or her schedule, then hybrid does fit that description. Although, I would not completely write off a hybrid course based on that list,” said Stratton.