Hybrid ClassesThough the real effects of hybrid courses will not be seen for years, there is no mistaking the trend toward implementing them.
By: Mikaela Rogers Ziegler, Sibley Scribe
Hybrid classes are becoming more and more common at the secondary level. The number of students taking at least one hybrid class from ninth grade through a fourth year of college is up almost ninety percent within the last decade. In the early 2000’s the majority of people taking online or hybrid classes were enrolled in online college or a virtual high school. Today these classes are far more abundant at mainstream high schools. At Sibley alone, their presence is known, with many students taking hybrid health, economics, interior design, etc. Hybrid classes have become a concrete aspect of many students’ schedules. This allows students to work on their own time, to an extent, and have days away from the classroom. Online learning often provides instant feedback and allows students to work at their own pace.
While there are benefits to students wanting to leave school earlier or arrive later, or finish credits in advance, we have to ask what the actual effects of online learning are? There have been numerous studies on both sides of the issue claiming that online learning is better for students or that it hinders their learning experience. But both sides can agree that the effectiveness of the class most heavily relies on the habits and preferences of the student. Of course the course type does have an impact. It seems a no-brainer to complete simple homework assignments online but it simply would not work to have an in-depth discussion of existentialism online.
Some benefits of hybrid courses are that the online medium for student responses allows for more modes of student communication. It can also be more convenient, and can save a school a lot of money. Hybrids at the university level can also increase the number of non-traditional students who can participate in the academic life of the university. In hybrid classes, students often get more rapid feedback than in traditional classrooms. Some possible drawbacks are that there may be less knowledge retention in hybrids than in regular classes. Students often do not have reminders of deadlines / due dates and may have a tendency to procrastinate in completing assignments. Face-to-face contact with a teacher and other students is limited as well, so students do not get all the benefits of this communication.
While the long-term effects of online learning can only be shown in the years to come, some of the administrative changes can be seen now. People have called into question the roll of teachers in online learning. If a computer is doing the teaching, is there a need for a qualified teacher? Many people see online education as a way to cheapen the cost of school. While teachers are not being paid for these courses they aren’t teaching, the corporate officials and producers of online learning programs are making money.
The issue of online learning is not black and white; as with most issues there are both advantages and disadvantages. But whether people like it or not we are in a world rapidly hurtling toward more technology-centered learning and online coursework will have a prominent place in secondary and post-secondary education.
Sibley Hybrid Course Offerings for 2013-2014
•Economics •Current Health Issues
•Interior Design (FACS) •Physics
•Advanced Film Studies •Sociology
•Individual and Team Activities (P.E.) •Psychology
•On Your Own (FACS) •Advanced World History and Geography