Hybrid classes get greater attendance, involvement rates
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 15:07
Hybrid courses, classes that are part online, part face-to-face, are reported to increase student involvement and performance by using web-based technology and classroom techniques.
According to the Cal State Long Beach website, a hybrid class is a course that depends on both academic technology and face-to-face contact between the students and instructor, where one-third to two-thirds of the contact time uses academic technology, such as online assignments posted by the instructor.
"I'm a huge believer in hybrid classes," said Maria Claver, a gerontology professor. "I think the days are over of faculty standing in front of the room and talking to students for however long ... we need to have students actively part of [classes]."
According to a study on hybrid courses conducted by LON-CAPA, an online course management system, online homework completion rates are greater than attendance rates for face-to-face lectures and hybrid courses might help increase students' in-class attendance.
The study indicated that focusing on attendance rates for hybrid courses is important because there is a predictable correlation between attendance and academic performance.
"It's really convenient to do your work at home," said Andrea Rodriguez, a junior fashion merchandising and design major. "The professor does a great job of getting through the information and she has lectures on how to do certain assignments online."
Students may be more likely to do well in hybrid classes because of their familiarity with a web-based technology environment, and the control over the time and space where they do their work, the study reported.
"For me, personally, I don't learn well from online classes," said Michele Cardigan, a senior sociology and Chicano Latino studies double major. "I need that one-on-one interaction … [the hybrid class] was a huge hassle. You have to learn [the material] on your own."
Cardigan said the political science hybrid course she took was more intensive and had more information to be covered because more online assignments were available through Beachboard.
Hybrid courses were introduced to the CSULB system a couple years ago, but significant changes have been made.
Beachboard introduced Illuminate, a new program for hybrid courses to utilize.
"[Students] log into Illuminate from wherever they are, and I give a lecture," Claver said. "But they can chat and ask people questions so that our global partners ... from Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, Norway, the Netherlands and Japan can pipe in."
Students are not the only ones challenged by these new course formats. Faculty members are also challenged to keep students interested online so that students do not have to read only textbooks for class.
The CSULB website says traditional, local online or distance education, and hybrid courses are all recognized as legitimate instructional modes offered by CSULB.
Online portions of hybrid courses are not simply assignments posted for students to finish by a deadline, they are interactive sessions that allow students to retain a more in-depth understanding of the course material.