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What’s hybrid learning in college (and how to figure out if it’s right for you)?

Published March 7, 2024| minute read

    Hybrid learning has become increasingly common in the past few years for college students. This style of teaching combines in-person and online learning, offering students flexibility and convenience. Students can access course materials and participate in learning activities from anywhere with an internet connection for the online portion of the class. It also provides students with the benefits of face-to-face instruction.

    There are potential downsides to consider when it comes to this class style, too. For instance, some students might not benefit from the online component of a hybrid class. For other students, a hybrid class might not provide enough flexibility.

    Continue reading to learn more about how hybrid learning works in college and some of the potential pros and downsides to consider when it comes to taking a hybrid class.

    What should you expect from a hybrid class?

    Hybrid learning, also known as blended learning, is an educational approach that combines traditional face-to-face learning with online learning. Students engage in a mix of in-person classroom instruction and online activities, such as video lectures, discussions, and assignments.

    The specific structure of hybrid learning will depend on your class, but there are a few common approaches.

    One is that students access and complete online materials such as pre-recorded lectures or readings before attending class in person, during which they engage in interactive activities and discussions.

    Another is that students alternate between in-person and online live classes. These hybrid classes move between traditional classroom settings and virtual learning environments (like video calls).

    What are the potential benefits of a hybrid class?

    Hybrid classes offer several benefits to students, such as:

    • Flexibility: With a hybrid class, students are able to access the online portion of a class anywhere with an internet connection. With some hybrid classes, students can engage with the online learning materials at their own pace and in a way that suits their individual schedules, providing even more flexibility.
    • Accessibility: Hybrid classes can make obtaining a college education more accessible to a wider range of students while still allowing students to have face-to-face interaction. Students with conflicting responsibilities such as work or family commitments and students with mobility or transportation limitations may benefit from a hybrid class.
    • In-person engagement: Some consider hybrid classes to be the best of both worlds because students get the flexibility of having a portion of a class online, but the benefits of in-person learning as well.
    • Efficiency: By leveraging online resources for certain aspects of the course curriculum, professors can optimize time spent in the classroom for more interactive, discussion-based, or hands-on learning activities.

    What are the potential disadvantages of a hybrid class?

    While hybrid learning can offer many benefits, there are also some potential disadvantages to consider. 

    • Time management challenges: Students may struggle to manage their time effectively when balancing in-person classes, online coursework, and independent studying, which can lead to potential stress or difficulties in staying organized.
    • Technical issues: Students may face technical problems when accessing online platforms or digital tools for their classes, which can disrupt the learning experience and can potentially create frustration for both students and professors. 
    • Reduced face-to-face interaction: Hybrid learning reduces the amount of time students spend in a traditional classroom setting, potentially impacting opportunities for in-person interactions with classmates and professors. 
    • Less flexibility than a completely online class: Another consideration to make is the downside of taking a portion of a class in person. That might lead students to have less flexibility in comparison to a class that is completely online.
    • Might work better for some classes versus others: Some classes — like a discussion-based class — might not work as well in this format.

    Colleges and universities that offer hybrid classes

    Below is a list of colleges and universities that offer hybrid classes. This is not a comprehensive list but rather a sampling of the colleges and universities that offer classes in this format.

    • Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
    • The City University of New York, New York, New York
    • Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    • The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
    • Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
    • Odessa College, Odessa, Texas
    • Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
    • University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
    • University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
    • West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
    • The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania
    • The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    • University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
    • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
    • The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
    • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
    • Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts
    • The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

    How do you sign up for hybrid classes in college?

    If you’re interested in signing up for hybrid classes, look for classes that are designated as “hybrid” or “blended” in the course descriptions when selecting courses for your upcoming semester.

    In addition, before signing up for hybrid classes, you may want to consider meeting with your academic advisor to discuss your academic goals and individual needs to ensure that hybrid classes align with your degree requirements, course schedule, and optimal learning environment.

    Final thoughts

    If you’re interested in enrolling in hybrid classes, it’s important to make sure it is a good fit for you before going forward. Keep in mind that you can likely mix hybrid classes with in-person classes and fully online classes (depending on what your college offers) when building a class schedule, so you can pick and choose learning formats to meet your needs.