Hybrid Courses

by Evelyn Beck

As distance education evolves from a totally on-line environment plagued by higher-than-average attrition rates, more options may make it easier for students to find the right match for the way they learn best. And many advocates say that increasingly popular hybrid courses may be the ideal approach to combine the best features of traditional education with the advantages of technology. Part on-line, part face-to-face, these mixed mode courses offer students the flexibility of Internet instruction along with the personalized support of classroom interaction.

“The student is completely enveloped in a learning experience using various testing schemes, access to current events through hyperlinks, access to additional ‘help’ sessions from material posted on the Internet by other professors, (and) constant contact with the professor,” says William Wendt, an adjunct professor who teaches a hybrid economics course at Randolph Community College (RCC) in Pinehurst, N.C. “A student cannot have it better than this.”

Wendt’s students access information and take tests on-line, then meet once a week for what he calls “supplemental support.” Class time involves answering questions from the previous week’s material, reviewing economic principles, and giving a mini-lecture on new material for the following week.

“It is impossible, time-wise,

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