- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 22 February 2017
- Written by THE OUTLOOK STAFF
Technology is always changing and developing, and it seems that finding a way to adapt to these frequent changes has become necessary. With so much of our lives being online, from our personal profiles to the way we communicate, it makes sense why technology should have a place in education as well. Hybrid and online courses at Monmouth University has given students the option to learn outside of the traditional classroom.
According to the spring 2017 course catalog, there were 138 hybrid courses offered this semester, as well as 68 completely online courses. Students are able to participate in an online class through eCampus.
Laura Moriarty, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, believes that it is the University’s responsibility to make it easier for students to be able to balance both their education and their personal lives. “Such programs meet a need for a student population that is working full time and yet sees the value in continuing their education. It’s not easy to work full time and come to campus for a 3-hour class after a long day at work. Students in hybrid and online courses have the ability to learn when they can devote time to that process,” said Moriarty.
One editor said, “I think that hybrid courses are a great asset to the University’s students. I have a friend who has a six-year-old child and tries to opt for hybrid or online courses so that she can have more time to spend with her daughter and maintain a job. I think these options expand our University’s accessibility for non-traditional students.”
Another editor said, “I am taking three hybrid courses this semester and I find them to be extremely beneficial. I commute and taking hybrid courses have allowed me to shorten my days on campus, which has allowed me to spend more time on my studies.”
While these courses are convenient for students who need to balance their academic and personal lives, these courses are not offered to all studies which is an inconvenience to those interested. An editor said, “I have never benefited from a hybrid or online class. I’m a science major so most of my major-related classes have lab meetings that need to be done in person. I also prefer going to class in person. Learning is unique for everyone so I’m sure opinion varies.”
Mary Harris, a specialist professor of communication who has taught hybrid and online courses, said, “If approached with creativity and effort, hybrid classes can offer the best features from both online and face-to-face classes. What is nice about hybrid classes is that students have the opportunity to schedule this type of coursework when it best fits their schedules while still getting the in-person classroom experience. However, for students who have trouble with time management and forget to log into eCampus for their coursework, online and hybrid courses may not be the best fit for them.”
A student’s personal learning style is important to consider. While hybrid classes may be convenient for some, they may be difficult for others. One editor said, “I have taken one hybrid course before and it forced me to do more of my own research outside of class. For me, I did not enjoy this because I tend to learn better when following someone’s example and seeing it done correctly by a professor first. If someone is the type of learner that enjoys doing things on their own, however, the hybrid system may work better.”
It seems that subject matter for a hybrid or online class could be potentially problematic. Another editor said, “I’m currently in my first ever hybrid class and it’s one of my worst classes I’ve taken thus far. Being that it’s a creative writing course, it’s difficult to manage providing cohesive and intellectual thoughts in a cyber-space where everything is reduced to emojis and quick lingo.”
The University will continue to advance hybrid and online courses. Moriarty said, “At Monmouth, we take pride in our student and faculty interaction, exemplified by our small class sizes characterized by personalized education. This is not going away, and for some, the hybrid and online courses/programs, are an example of how we can keep that student and faculty interaction going utilizing a modern vehicle – the web – that suits some students very well.”