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Are Hybrid College Classes Right for You?

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    Online and hybrid courses have increased in popularity since the 2020 pandemic. And at many schools, they’re here to stay. These classes are still new, however, so there are lots of questions, from students and professors alike, about how these classes are structured and whether or not hybrid classes are worth taking.

    In general, people tend to be more familiar with the pros and cons of online courses, but what about hybrid classes? The theory behind hybrid classes is that they capitalize on the advantages of taking classes online (such as increased flexibility and accessibility), while mitigating some of the disadvantages by offering an in-person component. 

    The structure of hybrid college classes is not straightforward, as it varies from class to class, so it makes sense that students and professors have lots of questions as they continue to adjust to online and hybrid college classes. In this article, we will help answer some of these questions by reviewing topics such as the advantages of online learning education and the definition of a hybrid class. So if you have questions like “what does blended hybrid class mean?” don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place!

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    What are hybrid classes?

    Do you find yourself wondering what does “hybrid class” mean? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Some of the confusion can be traced back to the fact that the definition of a hybrid class can vary from school to school and even from class to class. That said, there are several key components that help define a hybrid class. The most simple explanation is that part of the class takes place in-person and part of it takes place online. 

    Again, hybrid classes aren’t all structured the same way. It depends on the school. And the professor. So let’s take a quick look at some of the factors that may influence how a hybrid class may be organized. 

    To start, online components can be either synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous components must be completed at a specified time. Oftentimes, this might include a scheduled zoom call where you are required to log in at a certain time. Asynchronous components, however, can be completed at any time of day. In other words, you don’t need to complete the material at the same time as other students. This may include watching a pre-recorded lecture or completing independent readings according to your own schedule. 

    While some hybrid classes are 50% in-person and 50% online, this isn’t always the case. Some classes may be primarily online or primarily in-person. Generally, hybrid classes fall in the 25-75% range, with some classes being a 50-50 split and other classes being closer to 25% (either online or in-person) and 75% (either online or in-person). 

    So what might this look like in practice? Let’s say you’re taking a hybrid biology class that meets three times a week. Two of these classes might be held online, while the third class meets in-person so that students can perform a lab. Now, how about another example? Let’s say you’re taking a hybrid English class. This class might be held primarily in-person but offers students the option to zoom-in if you can’t attend class in-person (either in general or on a specific day).   

    Similarly to Hybrid Remote Work Models, there are lots of different variations in hybrid college classes! And while there are pros and cons to both remote classes and remote work, they’re both here to stay. 

    Who can benefit from hybrid classes?

    In addition to having a professional email profile picture and a professional email address for students, there are lots of factors to consider when drafting a professional email. In this section, we will review 20 tips on how to write a professional email to a professor. So if you have questions about email etiquette for students, don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place!

    • Students who are parents or fulfill other caretaking roles.
    • Students with limited transportation options.
    • Students with physical disabilities.
    • Students with health concerns or compromised immune systems.
    • Students who are introverted and prefer an online environment.
    • Students with internships or busy work schedules.

    Pros and cons of hybrid classes

    There are lots of pros and cons of online classes to consider during course selection. Some of these factors may depend on your college major, as some majors are more compatible with online or hybrid classes than others. For example, it may be easier to take a history class online, as opposed to a lab science. 

    The best strategy to decide whether or not a hybrid college class is right for you is to approach the professor directly with any questions. You may also want to talk to students previously enrolled in the class. That said, there are common advantages of online classes and disadvantages of online classes for you to consider as well.

    Pros of hybrid classes

    Let’s start off by taking a quick look at some of the advantages of online learning education:

    • Increased flexibility: Hybrid classes allow for greater scheduling flexibility. This can be especially helpful for students with a busy work schedule or family responsibilities.
    • Increased accessibility: Attending classes in-person can be challenging for some students, especially students with disabilities. Taking a hybrid college class can be a great way to relieve some of the potential stress of taking an in-person class.
    • Ability to record lectures: Recording lectures and being able to revisit them can be a great way to study! It also comes in handy if you need to miss class but don’t want to fall behind.
    • Accommodation of different learning styles: Some students thrive in online classes. It all depends on individual preferences and learning styles.
    • Decreased need to commute: Commuting to class can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you live far from campus. Taking an online or hybrid college class can help mitigate some of this stress.

    Cons of hybrid classes

    Now, let’s review some of the disadvantages of online classes:

    • Need for technological literacy: Online and hybrid college classes require a strong technological background. Even if you feel totally at ease with technology, your professor and/or classmates may struggle — which can be frustrating.
    • Potential for technical difficulties: No matter how prepared you may be, there is always a possibility for technical difficulties. Whether it’s slow wifi, delayed playback time, or a malfunctioning laptop, technical difficulties can be frustrating to deal with.
    • Expenses associated with technology: Students may need to buy a new laptop or invest in other pieces of technology. Paying for wifi is another expense that students will need to consider.
    • Lack of privacy: Ideally, students should take online classes in a quiet environment with privacy and a strong wifi connection. Unfortunately, some students may not have a good place to take an online class.
    • Decreased social component: It can be difficult to make friends in an online environment. Despite chat features and group projects, online and hybrid classes tend to have a lower sense of community than in-person classes.
    • Need for strong time management skills: Online and hybrid college classes require strong time management skills. Without set meeting times it can feel difficult to set aside enough time to work on your classes, especially if you thrive in a more structured learning environment.
    • More distractions: Generally speaking, there are more distractions and less accountability in online settings. Students tend to spend more time on their phones and can become more easily distracted by roommates, family members, and pets.
    • Decreased participation: Online classes tend to have lower rates of participation. Some students may feel awkward speaking up in an online setting, while other students may feel like it’s easier to slip into the background.

    Tips for online classes

    Taking an online class can be a big adjustment for some students. Thankfully there are lots of tips to help you make the most out of your online classes. In addition to the 8 tips below, you might want to take a look at motivation tips and productivity hacks.

    • Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking and remember to unmute your microphone when you’d like to speak.
    • Turn on your camera. This lets your professor know that you are paying attention and engaging with the material. Having your camera on will also help with personal accountability.
    • Use the chat features. And remember, there are settings for both private and group chats. If you have a question or comment for the group, send it to the group chat, but if you have a question or comment for a specific classmate, use the private feature. After all, you don’t want to clutter everyone else’s feed with information that doesn’t pertain to them.
    • Test your connections ahead of time. Make sure your internet browser and Zoom are updated before class. You don’t want to have to troubleshoot technological problems when class is starting.
    • Join class with both your camera and audio off. Start your camera once class has begun and only turn on your audio when you wish to speak.
    • Do your best to create a positive work environment for yourself. Find a quiet place with a strong internet connection where you can focus on your classwork.
    • Set yourself a schedule. Hybrid classes require strong time management skills, especially if there are asynchronous components. (“Asynchronous” means that there is no set time when you must complete your work).
    • Hybrid classes can lead to more instances of miscommunication, so it’s important to review Proper Email Etiquette for Students.

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    There are lots of advantages of online courses, but this doesn’t mean that they’re a good fit for everyone. While some students thrive in an online environment, other students may struggle with the lack of structure. For example, many students enroll in liberal arts college in order to widen their cultural horizons and experience a strong sense of community; this may be more challenging in an online or hybrid environment. That said, other students prioritize flexibility and accessibility over a strong sense of community. 

    While there are plenty of benefits of online classes for students, it’s important to keep in mind that there are disadvantages as well. The best way to decide whether a hybrid college class is right for you is to schedule a time to speak to the professor about your individual learning style and goals for the class.

    College can be an overwhelming process for many students. Thankfully, there are lots of resources that can help you navigate both the college and college application process. Here at Prepory we have the resources and expertise to help you meet all of your college-related goals. Whether you’re interested in meeting with one of our college counselors or simply reading more of our articles, there are plenty of ways to feel more prepared! 

    Check out some of our other articles, including What is Regular Decision? and Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    There are lots of advantages of online courses, but this doesn’t mean that they’re a good fit for everyone. While some students thrive in an online environment, other students may struggle with the lack of structure. For example, many students enroll in liberal arts college in order to widen their cultural horizons and experience a strong sense of community; this may be more challenging in an online or hybrid environment. That said, other students prioritize flexibility and accessibility over a strong sense of community. 

    While there are plenty of benefits of online classes for students, it’s important to keep in mind that there are disadvantages as well. The best way to decide whether a hybrid college class is right for you is to schedule a time to speak to the professor about your individual learning style and goals for the class.

    College can be an overwhelming process for many students. Thankfully, there are lots of resources that can help you navigate both the college and college application process. Here at Prepory we have the resources and expertise to help you meet all of your college-related goals. Whether you’re interested in meeting with one of our college counselors or simply reading more of our articles, there are plenty of ways to feel more prepared! 

    Check out some of our other articles, including What is Regular Decision? and Pre-College Summer Programs for High School Students.

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