PJC offers “hybrid” courses to serve students best

Home Features PJC offers “hybrid” courses to serve students best

Sahara Locke

Published: April 26, 2006

Certain PJC classes are ushering in a new type of course that, according to Stacy Albaugh of the English and Communications department “will be moving toward more flexible classes for students.”

Most students are more than familiar with the fixed schedule time slots that are the center of college life; sometimes it’s hard to manage and balance school priorities with personal responsibilities. Other students are familiar with the convenience as well as certain setbacks that are provided by online courses.

As a step to solve the complications that are generated by both types of courses, a “hybrid” course is being created. The convenience of learning face-to-face in a classroom setting and the time efficiency of an online course are being combined to enable students who choose to take the course to have “more flexibility with their schedule,” Albaugh said.

In-class lectures provide the benefits of being able to learn in a face-to-face environment, being able to stop in the middle of a lecture and ask questions, and being able to participate in group projects or discussions and studies. In-class courses also provide a more interactive environment in which students can give presentations or reports when necessary.

Conversely, in-class lectures prove more of a hindrance than an aid when the students in question have full-time jobs or other time constraints. Finding a balance between personal and academic responsibilities is a dilemma that is believed to have its solution in hybrid classes.

Online classes provide the convenience of allowing students to build their schedules around their busy lives and complete assignments online. The opposite end of this spectrum is that students aren’t able to receive the hands-on experience that is provided by in-class courses.

The possible solution to the problem is being implemented by Albaugh in Basic Speaking and Listening, and Narla Zinermon in a communication course. The hope is to eliminate the monotony of online courses, and the inflexible schedule of in-class lectures.

“Currently, students taking Basic Speaking and Listening online have to record themselves in front of a small audience and make their tape available for instructor and peer review. While this does work it has its problems,” Albaugh said.

To solve this problem, the online course is being blended so that students “would come to a classroom at several designated times to interact with peers and give presentations in a more traditional speech setting.”

These course institutes the flexible hours of online courses but maintains the personal interaction of normal classes. These hybrid courses are being implemented as ways to bridge the gap between the shortcomings of the traditional and online courses, and are seen to be hopeful precursors of a more time-efficient college career.