A recent article on the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s website discusses the lack of hybrid courses (online and face-to-face interaction) existing to meet the demands of students. According to the article, a recent survey of 20,000 current and prospective adult students found that 33% of students prefer hybrid course formats. However, only 19% of respondents said they were in such a class. So the question is, when and how will universities implement more of these much desired hybrid courses?
Perhaps the biggest issue is cost. A lot of universities have jumped on the online course bandwagon to cut costs, but this could be causing them to forget that a hybrid format may be ideal. It’s the blending of face-to-face interaction with the best of what the online environment has to offer that creates the best learning spaces.
So what might an ideal learning environment look like?
Here are some examples. Combining a face-to-face discussion class with online blogging entries to spark class discussion. Professors could use the blogs to help drive class discussion and guide the students in their specific areas of interest or confusion. One could also utilize online role-playing games to teach certain principles, such as using a poverty simulation game to teach basic principles of poverty. That online experience can then be used to spark more discussion in class. Without the in-class portion; however, most students miss out on some of the greatest features of online learning, such as community building, increasing interest in the classroom, and sparking classroom discussion.