Hybrid Courses Gain Interest at IPFW

IPFW will be offering over 50 hybrid courses in the fall of 2017 ranging from topics over engineering economy to romantic literature.

Hybrid courses are designed to have online interaction while combining face-to-face instruction at the same time.

With 28 percent of students enrolled in higher education taking a form of distance learning, according to Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Distance Education Enrollment Report of 2016, hybrid classes are becoming increasingly popular for their unusual structure than the typical online courses.

James Hess, a business professor at IPFW, is currently in his fifth year teaching hybrid courses and said he thinks there are both positive and negative attributes of the course.

One of the positives is hybrid courses meet half of the time in a classroom on campus and the other half online.

“Well, one plus is we only have to be here once a week, that itself can save people a lot of rear-end collisions,” Hess said with a chuckle. “The drawback is sometimes it can take more time to really focus on the foundational elements of a class then what we are allotted when we only meet 50 percent of the time.”

Students enrolled in Hess’ International Business Administration class meet once a week on Mondays, and during the class, he conducts a discussion with the students.

Following the meeting, the class is assigned a discussion board due on Wednesday nights that poses a question based off a topic discussed in class, as well as a current event each week.

Tanya Stier, a business marketing major enrolled in Hess’ course said hybrid courses are more beneficial for students than strictly online classes.

“Sometimes with just regular online courses it’s hard to convey a question or fully understand the material,” Stier said. “When you have the ability to see the professor you can ask your questions and have the professor explain it in person, which I think can be clearer than just asking over an email”.

Brittany Akins, another student in the course, said she has to give credit to Hess for how he organized the course and ties the lectures together with the assignments.

“He makes it relevant and worth my time rather than being a monotonous lecture two or three times a week, which can get overbearing,” Akins said. “We have assignments that are actually related to the lecture that we can do on our own time during the week.”

Akins continued to say the cost of a hybrid course did not bother her because she knows what she is getting out of it. However there was one aspect of the class that bothered her.

“I hate that in this class the book was included,” Akins said. “I could have bought the book for a lot less online. Instead they charge whatever the book price is into the cost of the class without giving us an option to buy it for less.”

Besides for the few unexpected costs, Hess recalled a time when hybrid courses first began and how he sees the future for them.

“At first I thought that by going hybrid, it gave universities a chance to experiment with classes that are traditionally meeting face-to-face all the time, a chance to cut back on some of that,” Hess said. “Yet, now I’m wondering if this is just something universities toy with right now and eventually everything will just go completely online.”

 

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