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Today's Classrooms Are Going Hybrid: Six Ways You Can Benefit

Aug 6, 2007 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Even if you’re enrolled in a traditional college, you’ll probably have the opportunity to learn in an online environment.  That’s because many of today’s traditional classrooms are starting to use online instruction to enhance the classroom experience.  This is good news for students, as it gives them access to the benefits of both learning methods.

If you have the opportunity to take a hybrid course during your time at college, we suggest you give it a try.  Here are a few reasons why you just might get hooked:

Some flexibility

Most hybrid classes meet just once a week, with the rest of the class time spent online.  During the week, students may be expected to download class notes, watch a pre-recorded lecture, and participate in classroom discussions on their own time.  This is great news for students who have to work while they attend school; it puts fewer demands on their schedules.

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Connection with peers

However, in a hybrid classroom you don’t lose out on the one thing most fully-online students say they miss: the face-to-face connection with your classmates.  You still get to know everyone in person.  There are plenty of opportunities to make friends, be social, and form online study groups.  You won’t have to rely entirely on yourself to stay motivated.

Widely available materials

Many students like the fact that lectures, notes, and other materials are available online throughout the course.  During a traditional class, the lecture is over as soon as it’s given—and you’d better have taken good notes, because the blackboard gets erased at the end of the day.  Hybrid classes, however, include recorded lectures and notes you can download at your leisure.  You can read and watch them as many times as you want, and there isn’t as much pressure not to miss the important points of a lecture during class.

Face-time with the instructor

Still, online students often miss meeting their instructor face-to-face.  Teachers miss getting to know their students in person as well.  In a hybrid classroom, you’ll still have the opportunity to meet your professor in person.  The mentor-scholar relationship is an important part of the college experience, and while it’s not impossible to connect with your teacher in a fully-online class, it’s often easier to do it in person.  In a hybrid classroom, you don’t miss out on the opportunity.

Exposure to technology

If you’re a bit of a techno-phobe, a hybrid class is a great way to learn.  You’ll have the support of a program specially designed to be student-friendly; a professor who must teach you the basics of technology as well as the course material; and peers who are comfortable in the online space.  You’ll need the knowledge someday—the job market demands it—and it’s easier to learn with others than on your own.

Pressure-free participation

For some students, class participation isn’t a strong point.  In a boisterous classroom, it can be intimidating to raise your hand and ask a question—and quieter students can feel drowned out.  In addition, many introverted students feel put on the spot when a professor asks them for an off-the-cuff response. But it’s tough to get away with being shy in most classrooms, as class participation is part of the grade.

In a hybrid classroom, students are still expected to participate.  But the discussions take place in online bulletin boards, and students can log on and make comments whenever they want.  That gives introverted students time to read posts, consider their reactions, and craft a response.  The pressure’s off: quiet students can earn participation points on an even footing with extroverted peers.

There are plenty of benefits to both an online and a traditional education, but they each have their drawbacks, too.  Hybrid classrooms offer the best of both worlds: the flexibility of an online classroom and the in-person support of a traditional class.   If you get an opportunity to take a hybrid class during your time at college, don’t let it pass you by.




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