For those navigating the virtual world of higher education, you may have heard and used the terms remote, online and hybrid courses interchangeably. They are three common approaches to virtual course experiences. Let’s take a look at how they are different.
Online courses do not have regular meeting times. The courses are self-paced, but you need to do the required reading and weekly assignments. It’s common to read lectures and articles, view videos, and engage in online discussions and quizzes. In my experience as a student in online courses, group projects are less common than in courses taught in traditional classrooms. However, you’ll have the chance to get to know students through online discussions, which include posting and commenting on other students’ posts.
Remote courses meet regularly and are online. That means that whenever the class meets, even if you are in a different time zone, you are expected to attend class virtually. For example, if you’re in Paris, add nine hours for a class given in Los Angeles during Pacific Daylight Time.
Hybrid is the third approach, designed to include elements of both online and remote learning. Some meetings happen online at the same time, synchronously, and others are self-paced or asynchronous. It’s important for students to keep up with the pace of reading and assignments indicated in the syllabus, so it requires some self-discipline. This is particularly true for courses that include team projects.
As an instructor at UCLA Extension, I’m using the hybrid approach, transitioning from three-hour classroom meetings one evening a week to two hours for remote instruction plus one hour for online instruction. I’ve chosen this format because I’m hoping it offers the best of both worlds. I want to keep the energy high in class, and I feel that I can do that for two hours at a time. For that third hour of class that week, I might ask students to read a current article or view a longer video and then in class, we will discuss it. There’s definitely an hour a week of content that I can shift from class to asynchronous study that students can cover themselves on their own schedule. My goal is to make all three hours engaging, connect to each other and build momentum and a foundation of knowledge.
University is a social experience. That’s a huge part of your education. Consider all the ways online education is advantageous and how you can welcome social interaction in virtual breakout rooms, in online and offline class discussions, and by working on team projects together. Enjoy it, embrace it and personalize it, getting to know your professors and other students—and by digging into the content.
Photo Pexels: Retha Ferguson