Hybrid Classes: What are they, how do they work, and are they right for YOU?

It is no secret that online classes have become incredibly popular around the world. They have grown from one or two classes at a few institutions to entire degree programs and online-only universities. But there are a few downsides to online learning, the main one being that the student generally never has face to face contact with their classmates or professors.

This is where “hybrid classes” come in.

What are hybrid classes?

Hybrid classes aim to take the best aspects of online learning and combine them with the best aspects of traditional classes for an all-inclusive learning experience. Each university defines hybrid class slightly differently, however classes of this type generally meet between 25% and 50% of the time online and the remaining 50%-75% of time in the classroom.

How do hybrid classes work?

Here’s an example:

A traditional 3-credit course would typically meet Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half each time. The same exact course taught as a hybrid course might meet on Tuesdays for an hour and a half and the remainder of the course would take place online through different assignments and discussions. (This is only one variation of a hybrid class, but you get the idea.)

Hybrid classes offer students a great alternative to traditional classes OR online classes–but are they right for you?

Benefits of hybrid classes

As a balance between traditional and online learning, hybrid classes offer a number of unique benefits that you wouldn’t get with other course structures.

Lectures are on-demand

By presenting most of the lecture content via the online portions of the class, students are able to go back and re-watch (if it’s a video or PowerPoint) or review the information that they are having difficulty with. This can also help students to improve their midterm and final grades because if they are missing a section of notes or can’t make sense of what they wrote down, they are able to go back and get the exact information they need.

Face-to-face time is spent more effectively

With lecture “out of the way”, so to speak, face-to-face class time can be used more constructively for the kinds of activities that can’t take place through the online component of the class. Students have more time to ask questions about topics that are confusing and professors are able to lead more in-depth discussions. Students will also have some opportunity to actually meet and work alongside their peers, asking questions and sharing information. Classes can be more focused when you’re not required to cover EVERYTHING in the given amount of time.

Multiple learning styles can be successful

Every student learns differently. Hybrid classes lend themselves to various styles, as it allows students to learn audibly (through lectures and recorded material), visually (through slides and presentations usually included in the class), or in a hands-on way by collaborating with classmates during the designated in-class time. Those that do well in lectures and discussions get to enjoy the type of environment where they excel, while students who like to have more time to process the information without distractions and interruptions also have the opportunity to do so.

More flexibility than traditional classes

One of the main draws of any online learning opportunity is the amazing amount of flexibility that they offer students when it comes to scheduling. Hybrid classes do require time spent face to face, but the amount of time in the classroom is significantly less than traditional classes, allowing students to balance work, a social life, extra curricular activities, or even attending office hours for other classes.

They make a great stepping stone

If you’re considering taking online-only classes, hybrid courses offer a great intermediate step. Adjusting to online learning can be difficult if you don’t have any experience. Taking a hybrid class is a good way to test the waters and see if online classes are the right fit for you before you jump in with both feet.

Things to consider before signing up for hybrid college classes near me

Although there are a lot of benefits, hybrid classes are not perfect for everyone. They require strong time management skills and can be tough to fit into a schedule if your in-class time is just once a week. Here are some other things to consider before enrolling in a hybrid class.

Hybrid classes may be more work

The important thing to remember is that the online component of class does NOT COUNT AS HOMEWORK. It merely replaces the class period that you don’t have to physically attend. You will still be expected to complete the same amount of work that you would if you were in a traditional class. The general rule is 9-10 hours a week of homework for each 3 credit class, so make sure you’re factoring that time into your schedule as well.

There are some aspects of hybrid class schedules that AREN’T flexible

Online classes are flexible. The content is always available and as we mentioned above, this is a huge benefit of hybrid classes. But the in-class sessions are just about as flexible as a traditional class (which means they’re NOT). With many professors using the face-to-face time for more in-depth discussion and explanation, attendance is incredibly important.

Hybrid courses require more responsibility and commitment

Time management is just as important to hybrid classes as it is with courses that are taught 100% online. You will need to set aside at least an equivalent amount of time to your face-to-face sessions to complete the online components in order to keep up and be prepared. If you have trouble setting a schedule that allows you to get everything done or you’re a master procrastinator, think hard about if hybrid classes are right for you.

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Kaeli Nieves-Whitmore

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