Hybrid technology, it’s not just for cars

Some people prefer the convenience of online classes, while others thrive on face-to-face interaction with their instructors and classmates. Starting this January, Columbia College–Lake County is throwing a third option into the mix with hybrid courses. Taught by David Pituch, MUSIC 122 Music Appreciation will retain a traditional classroom component, while also integrating online learning. This style of course may be a good option for anyone who prefers classroom courses, but cannot commit to a full five hours of class on a given night, or to a student who feels apprehensive about online classes but would like to test the waters. In the interview below, Pituch shares his personal thoughts on the benefits of hybrid courses:

In your own words, how would you describe a hybrid course?
To me, a hybrid class is similar to a hybrid car with two sources of power. The first source is the traditional classroom setting, while the other source is derived from the more independent online learning experience. This second component will definitely require students to put in more of their own energy if they want effective results.

What are the benefits of a hybrid course versus a traditional classroom course, or an online course?
One big benefit of hybrid classes is that you no longer have to choose between a class that meets for five hours once a week and a class that meets for two and a half hours twice a week. Now, classes can be divided between a traditional two and a half hour lecture/discussion format and another online session. This means that you will still have the forty hours of contact time with your instructor that the school requires, while accomplishing even more than you could in a traditional setting. Basically, you can have a second weekly meeting without the commute. The online component can be realized at the student’s discretion, meaning you do the class work at a time that suits you best.

Why are you interested in teaching hybrid courses?
I have taught both traditional and online classes for many years. Both settings have their advantages and disadvantages, but this format allows us to integrate the best of both worlds.

What advice would you give to a student who is hesitant about enrolling in a hybrid course?
Something to keep in mind before registering for this class is that all the weekly discussions you complete will be visible to everyone else in class. That means that for perhaps the first time in your academic career you can actually see the scope and quality of your work relative to your classmates. If you are afraid of that type of challenge, then I would advise you to avoid hybrid classes. You will not have the anonymity of a strictly online class environment. You will be meeting other people in the class who actually see how much work and talent you are investing in the class. If you are proud of the effort you put into your academic career then definitely consider taking a hybrid class to give the latest learning methods a try.