Hybrid classes pave the way for new methods of instruction

Britni Williams

Kent State faculty is implementing hybrid classes as a way to transition some classes from traditional delivery methods to completely online courses.

Richard Rubin was named the associate provost to expand the distance learning program.

“The term hybrid usually implies that a given class has a mixture of face-to-face and online components,” Rubin said.

Over the next year, the university plans to hire instructional designers as part of the university’s initiative to boost distance learning. They will replace educational technologist who are currently working to create online programs.

Provost Robert Frank said more professors are now offering hybrid classes.

“It’s like one of those tipping point phenomena where it was very slow, and you could count the number of people doing it,” Frank said. “To now, it’s happening in so many places in many different ways. It’s almost a universal phenomena at Kent.”

Professor Robert Trogdon said he is teaching a hybrid class with the expectation that class will eventually become a complete online course.

“So far, it seems to be going pretty well,” he said.

Trogdon said hybrid and online classes make economic sense for students because it allows them to do their class work on their own schedule.

Zachary Rozler, sophomore integrated language arts major, said he likes the mix of in-class and online.

“If there’s less in-class time then there’s more time to do other stuff,” Rozler said.

He also likes the in-class portion because he doesn’t have to go over the material completely on his own.

Katelynd Jarvis, sophomore English major, said she was disappointed when she found out she was in a hybrid class.

“It’s better for me to be in a classroom and to listen to somebody talk,” Jarvis said. “It’s almost taking away from the college experience a little bit.”

Frank said he thinks hybrid classes help students to stay engaged in the class and encourages faculty to use this method of instruction where they think it will help.

“What we used to call hybrid classes are really becoming the norm,” Frank said.

“I personally believe that in many disciplines, it’s beneficial to students.”

Rozler said he also thinks it’s beneficial.

“It helps because you don’t sit in class and zone out two days a week,” Rozler said.

Lawrence Marks, associate marketing professor, said he has already made some of his classes into complete online courses but now offers his students the option of creating their own hybrid course.

Marks said he teaches two sections of the same course and gives his students the option of either attending the in-class lecture or the online lecture.

Marks said his online section was “set up to replicate the in-class experience.”

The hybrid classes give students flexibility, and it fulfills a student need, Marks said.

Wendy Tietz, assistant accounting professor, said she has set up some of her classes similar to the way Marks’ class is set up.

She provides a live feed of her in-class lectures and gives her students the option of going to class or attending the lecture online. She also has her graduate assistant available in a chat room during the lecture for online students who have questions.

Tietz said it takes commitment to do the extra work necessary that allows the students to float between the two sections, but it’s worth it.

Frank said despite some logistical issues, he is very supportive of this initiative.

Contact Britni Williams at [email protected].