Colleges and universities nationwide are trying to figure out the best way to incorporate advancements of the information age into the classroom.
We have access to knowledge from nearly every field of study imaginable, but it’s not clear how much one can truly learn from online coursework. While it’s true a healthy level of online coursework can complement traditional classroom curricula, colleges should resist the urge to invest in the latest methods of online teaching.
The University of Minnesota has been offering courses with an online component, called “hybrid” classes, for about 10 years, and students may see more of them in the future. In a Sept. 26 article, the Minnesota Daily reported that various departments at the University have shown interest in moving some of their courses partially online.
Associate education specialist and psychology instructor Kathleen Briggs told the Daily her introductory course became a hybrid class because it was not possible to accommodate every student that signed up. Briggs also said the hybrid model helped standardize the class.
While standardization is a noble goal, it’s important that instructors use online coursework to complement, not replace, the traditional classroom experience. Hybrid classes can work, but they shouldn’t be used simply because there aren’t enough instructors or classrooms.
Before deciding to switch to a hybrid model, instructors should ensure that the reduced time in class and in front of an instructor will not negatively affect the quality of education.