I would like to start the article with a little question. How do you see the future of education? How do you imagine the classrooms of the future a hundred years from now? You often see technology portrayed in some really interesting ways, do you not? High school students with tablets and computers that have holographic images coming off them; the teacher is either a projection or a hologram or on a computer screen recorded from somewhere far away. We have all these different ideas as to how technology can be used in the future. Why don’t we take advantage of it?
Hybrid Class: Meaning
So, what is a hybrid course in college? It is a course where a significant portion of learning has been moved online, reducing the amount of time you spend in a college classroom. It combines both face-to-face and online instruction into one course. So, instead of coming to campus two days a week for class, you can come to campus for one day and do the remainder of the class online.
Most students like this class format due to the time benefit. They can work on a course at work, while waiting for an appointment, etc. You learn online and inside the classroom with the teacher. It is a perfect combination of a traditional and online education. This enables students to spend more time studying, now that they do not have to commute so often.
In a hybrid course you are doing a significant amount of work through the blackboard site where you can access the entire course: its notes, video, PowerPoint presentations. Half of the instruction is done in class, so if you have questions, you can raise your hand and ask, or you can post it on the discussion board.
What is a hybrid class in numbers? It is 1/3 in seat, 1/3 self-study and 1/3 online.
How Does Hybrid Course in College Look Like?
A “blended delivery” course or a hybrid class is designed in such a way: a 2-hour class meeting per week, a 1-2 hour learning module online with pre-recorded lectures, video clips, web resources and a weekly discussion. Teachers also often include op-ed pieces in their online content. It makes students think, sets them on fire, and gets them to debate burning issues when they come to college.
Let’s say the college module is on the topic of motivation and goal orientations. So, in a hybrid class, students will have to progress through seven different assignments online. If you are having trouble with difficult them yourself, you can always ask for help with college homework.
In a hybrid course on motivation, you first work on a pre-recorded lecture about the expectancy and value model of this phenomenon. Then the teacher provides a link to a web-page that is made by your university. There you can find frequently asked questions about classroom motivation. You need to study them before you can ask your own questions.
Then you have to read a research article about educating apathetic students. The video clip is the next assignment, which is very popular with the students. The keynote speaker delivers a 10-minute speech on the topic of inspiring reluctant learners. Online games help to wrap everything up.
So, after students have gone through all that content, what happens when they get to the college classroom? If all the content is delivered online, how does the teacher spend two hours with them? The lecturer reinforces the content instead of delivering it again. They do comprehension checks and try to fill in the gaps or areas that need a little bit of extra help.
Now, the questions are – what’s the difference between a face-to-face class and a hybrid course, and what are the benefits of the last one?
Benefits of Hybrid Course in College
Let’s define the main characteristics. A face-to-face instruction can often be categorized as familiar, scheduled, interactive, collaborative, and instructor-dependent. A hybrid class in college is adventurous, flexible, anonymous, and technology dependent.
But let me say that a hybrid course really brings the best of two worlds, combining the elements of a traditional face-to-face class with those of online learning.
Your college classes are scheduled, but they also let the students be flexible in terms of content and assignments. You can learn at your own pace, watch lectures, and respond to your professor’s remarks at four o’clock in the morning if you want to, as long as you get it all done by the due date.
You control the time, whether you are sitting at home in your fuzzy bunny slippers, doing your homework at midnight, or you are an early riser, preferring to do your homework at 4-5 in the morning. You do everything on your terms, not bound by any schedules, but you still need to figure out what time works best for you.
In addition, you can download lectures as mp3, upload them on iPod and go listen to them while working out at the gym. You can “pause” the instructor when someone is calling you on your cell phone, when you are falling behind on the notes or when you just want to take a break. That is why the lecture is going to be much more effective.
New Technology and Interaction
When you are using a hybrid method as a way to deliver your content, you provide a familiar setting for students and at the same time incorporate new technologies.
Another great reason why hybrid courses are better is that they provide opportunities for college interaction and discussion. It is much harder to find time for those in a traditional classroom setting.
The hybrid instruction provides a great mix of collaboration and independence. Students feel free to move at their own pace to get the work done, but you still get to monitor their progress. Hybrid classes draw upon both the instructor and the technology.
Less Time, More Discussion
This type of college course is significantly different from face-to-face courses. It has changed teaching and learning in a number of important ways. For example, online lectures can be as short as a YouTube clip. This allows you to process information in ways that enhance learning so you don’t feel overwhelmed by having to sit there and watch an hour-long video.
It’s freed the teachers from the obligation to deliver all the information in the classroom, which made face-to-face classes much more active, hands-on and engaging. The instructor can now do things that perhaps they did not always have time for in a traditional class.
Class for Shy People
While most of the students are probably used to in-person class formats, online discussions can be great for students who are a little bit shy about participating in face-to-face classes. In a nutshell, face-to-face classes can have more spontaneity because you are there, and things are happening in real time. But online activities can be more reflective, as you actually have time to compose your responses in discussion threads or to questions that your peers may have asked in an online forum.
So, what does this actually mean for you? This means that you will enjoy greater flexibility and new opportunities. Because the lectures will be held online, your newly regained time can be spent on other things like extracurricular activities or studying for tests.
Drawbacks of Hybrid Class
If you take a hybrid class in college, it means you need to take more responsibility for your learning as well. Of course, you can watch the videos at four in the morning. The caveat is that there are still due dates. Teachers will still expect you to be prepared for in-person classes. Often it is harder for students because they have to be more self-motivated and self-disciplined to get the work done.
The Internet access is the most important aspect. As long as you have a computer or a place where you can get online three to four times a week, you are going to be fine. The college Internet is always a legit back-up plan. You can always just go on campus, access the TLC’s or open computer labs. Technological problems cannot be an excuse when you are in a hybrid class.
So, “dog ate my homework” is not an option anymore. If your computer crashes at home, you need to be certain you have that back-up plan. College gives you that, but in case the mishap happens on the weekend or during the time a computer lab is not open, you do need another available place to access the Internet. So, you need plan A, B, and C.
Individuals that should probably stay away from hybrid courses are those who do not have much computer experience. You need to know at least the basics to maneuver in an online world.
Misconceptions About Hybrid Classes in College
Hybrid classes are not more work. They are typical three-credit classes, where you would spend three hours in a face-to-face classroom and six hours on your own doing homework (yes, I know that no one would spend six hours each week studying). But technically, a three-credit class in college means nine hours of work per week – three in class and six out of class. In a college hybrid class, you will earn the same number of credits as in a traditional one.
Tips to Succeed in Hybrid Class
Do not lag behind. It is really difficult to catch back up because usually the instructor covers one or two chapters per week. If you miss even one chapter, you will be five behind before you even know it.
Get online as often as you can. Even if you do not have a lot of time to post or comment on other people’s posts, get online and see what is going on in the class. This way you always know what people are discussing in your class.
Attend your face-to-face classes. Your instructor is going to be there to answer your questions. Moreover, you will get a chance to get to know your fellow classmates. You will find out about various projects, trips and opportunities. Face-to-face classes are great for keeping up with the material as well as building connections with your instructor and your group mates.
Figure out what you will learn at the beginning of each chapter. You can do it by reading the table of contents. So, review those, read the chapter and then go back and review them again. Be honest with yourself as to whether you understood what you read.
Review and know the syllabus. The syllabus is going to be your class Bible. This is where all of your assignments are. This is where you can check what is coming up, and what the deadlines are. Constantly monitor your mail for updates and notifications. All these steps are necessary if you want to be successful in a hybrid class.
Talk to your instructor, especially if you are struggling. But even if you are doing okay, I highly recommend you to communicate with your instructor on a regular basis. They do want to hear from you, even if you are not seeing them every week.
Follow the class rules. Some of your tests will be taken online and some of them will be taken through the testing center on campus. They impose their own rules and regulations and require hours of preparation.
Know how your week is structured in a hybrid class. Some hybrid classes encompass a week between a Monday morning and a Sunday night; other hybrid classes may begin on a Wednesday morning and go up until a Tuesday night. Make sure you understand when your assignments are due.
Use netiquette. It is online etiquette. When you are online, chatting and posting, you need to make sure you are doing it in a professional way. A small tip – if you type something using capitalization, people are going to think you are shouting at them.
To be honest, a hybrid course is what I have always missed during my college life. You are free to choose your study time, you are able to “stop” your college professor whenever you need, and you can do it while sitting on a comfy couch. What more could I have asked for in college? Well, money. But it is a story for another day.