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What is a Hybrid Class in College & Its Residency Requirements?

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Online education offers many advantages. But all of these advantages do not undermine the importance of traditional education. In between both modes of learning, there is the hybrid method, a combination of online and traditional education. Hybrid learning is a perfect fit for students who want to enjoy all the advantages of online learning without losing out on the face-to-face relationships and collaboration of in-person learning. If you are interested in getting an education that combines both online and traditional aspects, this guide to online programs with residency requirements will set you on the right path and help you understand if hybrid classes are a great fit for you.

What is a Hybrid Class with Residency Requirements

Also known as hybrid or blended learning, online programs with residency requirements merge the in-person aspect of traditional education with the flexibility of online programs. Such programs appeal to students with work, family, or health obligations who do not want to miss out on the face-to-face component.

All distance learning programs aim to provide academic flexibility for working professionals and busy adults. All types of blended degree programs combine face-to-face instruction and online learning components. Still, each program has a unique balance between these two learning formats. In certain programs, especially in the science, medical and teaching fields, the in-person requirements are a significant part of the learning process. On the other hand, programs like liberal arts have fewer in-person requirements.

How Online Programs with Residency Requirements Work

Each university and college with a hybrid program operates differently. Residency requirements vary from one school to another. For example, a school might decide to hold an in-person meeting once every two weeks. In contrast, another school may require that students meet only a handful of times per semester or for two weeks or so during the semester.

Students have to log into a virtual portal or a Learning Management System (LMS) to participate in the virtual classes. These platforms allow students to view their grades, course materials, and the course syllabus. Students can also participate in discussion boards, chat rooms, and schedule virtual meetings with their professors through these platforms. Students are encouraged to access the learning management systems on their desktop or laptop computers, as mobile devices fall short with displaying the course materials.

These are some of the common features of online programs with residency requirements:

  • Lectures

Online lectures in hybrid classrooms can occur in asynchronous or synchronous formats. Synchronous lectures are live lectures that happen in real-time, and students can actively participate in the class. Students can gain access to synchronous lessons via links shared by the professor. The good thing about synchronous lectures is that students can interact with the professor or other students during the class. On the other hand, asynchronous lectures are prerecorded and available online. The student can always listen to the lecture at a convenient time.

  • Tests

Online programs with residency requirements often require students to visit the school’s campus at specific times for exams and tests. Learners who live far away from the campus might have to make arrangements with a staff of any nearby school to act as a proctor. In cases where this is not possible, the school can monitor the exam through special software or webcams, which offer more flexibility. Here, the school also tracks students with technology that can tell if they are looking at the computer screen or not.

  • Assignments

Even in traditional classrooms, most professors prefer students to submit their work online. Hybrid colleges are no different. Students typically submit their assignments via email or on the school’s LMS. Many universities use plagiarism detection software, and students may be required to submit their papers on the plagiarism checkers separately.

  • Class Meetings and Discussions

Hybrid classrooms may have class meetings or discussions over video conferencing software such as Zoom or face-to-face. Virtual meetings play out very similarly to in-person meetings. Students can ask questions and discuss topics with their classmates and professors in real-time. Students can engage in case studies and work problems, discuss readings, participate in break-out groups, and role-play during virtual meetings. Interactive meetings tend to be the most engaging, which applies to virtual and in-person meetings.

These are some tips to make the most out of virtual meetings:

  • Invest in a good headset. Headsets with built-in microphones are ideal as they perform better than the speakers and microphones of a laptop.
  • Prepare for video sessions if your course supports synchronous classes. In cases where your bandwidth is not strong enough to support video, use a photo of yourself to reduce bandwidth use. Before you speak during a live session, remember to unmute your microphone. You can also ask for clips of recorded sessions to go over complex material. Familiarize yourself with the class rules on discussions. This will enable you to interact seamlessly throughout meetings.
  • Labs

Laboratory activities can occur via videoconferencing platforms or face-to-face. While some programs require face-to-face supervision and instruction, others allow for virtual simulation. Different companies such as eScience Labs and Hands-On Labs provide lab equipment that online students can use at home. These lab kits can cost anywhere between $40 and $200.

  • Group Projects

Many programs also schedule group projects that students can complete online. Students who participate in group projects stand to gain a lot as it prepares them for jobs after graduation. A 2020 survey concluded that students could hone the most sought-after soft skills during online group projects. Some of these soft skills include adaptability, persuasion, creativity, emotional intelligence, collaboration, and creativity.

These tips will help you achieve success in online group projects:

  • It is important to understand the requirements of the assignment. The best way to have a firm grasp of the work is by reading the lecturer’s expectations and instructions before you begin the project.
  • Time management is another crucial factor to success in group projects. Groups who plan their project timelines and assign roles early on tend to achieve better success.
  • Working as a team toward the project goals requires effective communication. This involves deciding on meeting times and asking questions to gain clarity on assigned roles.

What is a Hybrid Class: What to Know

Due to various factors, it is becoming more common for institutions to offer hybrid classes as part of their study plans. Today, hybrid classes cater to students from different backgrounds. Hybrid classes, otherwise known as blended classes, are most times designed to be interactive. Some schools even limit the number of students in these programs to ensure that they meet everyone’s needs. In most universities, hybrid students receive the same benefits as regular on-site students. Here are some other things you should know about hybrid classes:

Technology Requirements

For hybrid classes to work, all participants must have access to stable internet through either a laptop or a desktop. The main reason for this is that the teachers and students use learning software programs that are not compatible with mobile phones. This software includes Zoom, Google Meet, Google Classroom, Virtual Classroom, LiveBoard Interactive Whiteboard, etc.

Flexibility

One of the foremost importance of hybrid classes is flexibility. Schools that offer hybrid classes make learning easier for students with other commitments. With this learning model, students can decide whether to participate synchronously or asynchronously, depending on their schedule. Most hybrid classes can be recorded or saved for students who wish to view them later. The entire setup gives students the freedom to take charge of their schedules and manage other commitments.

Accessibility

The world is a global community, and accessibility is vital for everyone. Hybrid classes have solved the barriers that stop people from enrolling in schools far from their homes. Some students balk from applying for some programs because of location barriers. However, location doesn’t matter much with the availability of hybrid classes. Though students must sometimes participate in traditional classes, it’s not comparable to full-time on-site learning.

Time Management

Since all the online sessions in hybrid classes do not require students to show up physically, it can be easy to lose track of time. A lot of these classes are also self-paced. To complete a hybrid program on time, time management and discipline are required. Students, especially those learning asynchronously, have to plan out their study goals and stick to them. These students have to employ effective time management skills and improve their study habits.

Availability of Resources

The internet has abundant resources, so it’s no surprise that students enrolled in hybrid programs have access to lots of information. Many schools prepare these digital resources and make them available to students. Students can download pdf materials on different study areas and browse through research work for additional learning resources. Besides digital written materials, hybrid students have access to other resources. Many schools now build virtual laboratories for their programs that require practicals. Students can practice the lessons from their various locations in these virtual laboratories.

Why Hybrid Learning Is Better than Purely Online Learning

Traditional learning may have been the preferred mode of learning before the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, today, more colleges in the US offer fully online or hybrid courses in response to the pandemic.

Hybrid courses provide a blend of the best features of both online and the more traditional face-to-face learning. Owing to its benefits and growing popularity, this blended learning style is gradually changing the landscape of learning as we know it. Here are four reasons why many students prefer hybrid courses to online courses:

1. More Networking Opportunities

While studying for a degree, the rapport you develop with your educators and peers is just as important as the education itself. These connections are simply nonexistent with pure online courses. With hybrid classes, there are flexible options that allow students to learn better and allow the instructors to connect in more personal ways with the students. Roughly 60% of students agree that they prefer this blending of online and in-classroom learning.

2. An Introduction to Purely Online Learning

Suppose you have never taken an online course before, and you have your reservations about these types of courses. In that case, hybrid classes can serve as a training ground. Instead of diving straight into a 100% online class and drowning with unfamiliar online course requirements, you can prepare yourself with hybrid classes. When you have problems finding your way around the online learning environment, the face-to-face sessions can be used for questions. With this, you’ll better understand the confusing online aspects.

3. A Higher Degree of Accountability

Taking away the face-to-face interaction of traditional learning methods also takes away accountability. This is one of the reasons why 40% to 80% of purely online students never complete their degree. Hybrid learning allows you to interact with other students and with the instructor. It is easier to focus, evaluate why you signed up, and motivate yourself to push on with your studies.

4. Suitable for All Learning Styles

With regards to learning, what works for one student may not work for another since people learn in different ways. Doing well in physical classrooms is not an indication that one would excel online. To learn, some people rely on physical interactions while others are perfectly capable of learning independently. While in-classroom courses appeal to the former group, the latter prefer fully online courses. On the other hand, hybrid courses bridge the gap between both groups by offering audio and visual materials on which the introverts thrive. The social learners also have the opportunity to make the best use of the in-person interactions.

Who is Hybrid Learning For?

A couple of factors come into play when deciding what learning mode is for you. First, students who are comfortable with the non-traditional styles of learning will find it easier to switch to fulfill residency requirements. Secondly, personality is a big factor in deciding on a learning style. These groups of students will benefit the most from online programs with residency requirements:

Working Professionals

People who have full-time jobs and seek to earn a degree will enjoy the flexibility that a hybrid degree offers. They can schedule their in-person and online classes based on availability.

Distant Students

Students who reside far away from the campus can save time and resources by enrolling in a hybrid program. They do not have to travel to the campus often, and they can schedule their in-person visits weeks in advance.

Those with Family Obligations

Whether you’re caring for a newborn child or aging parents, family responsibilities can take a considerable chunk of your time as a student. This makes hybrid learning options ideal since they allow students to wrap their studies around their schedules.

Students who Need Guidance

Self-motivation and self-discipline are two vital factors in any educational pursuit. These factors are also crucial to success in hybrid programs because students have to participate in many online classes and submit assignments independently. However, the in-person aspects of hybrid learning can give students that extra push and motivation when they need it as they get to see their peers and professors.

Introverted Students

Students who are introverts can benefit from hybrid programs. With online classes, introverts or shy students can express their ideas without the stares of fellow students. When they get comfortable with other learners in their program, it is easier to be more confident during in-person meetings.

The Worth of Residencies

Despite the advantages of face-to-face education, there’ll always be some debates on its practicality. In reality, visiting the campus can be challenging for certain students due to issues like financing and logistics. Many online students prefer this learning mode because it allows them to continue working as they learn. And this means that they would have to carve out time from their vacation days to participate in the on-campus aspect of learning. Students may also have to spend large amounts of money on travel, especially if they live far away from the campus.

On the positive side, many experts believe that students can benefit from residency programs. The benefits far outweigh the costs and time spent.

Every school has a unique approach to residency. Students need to take their time and learn more about a school’s residency requirements before committing themselves. Some factors to consider are personal goals, professional goals, and work/family obligations. Students can get a clear picture of the actual demands of any program by speaking to alumni and current students of the institution. They can also check out the past activities and itineraries of the school before enrolling.

Advantages of a Hybrid Class with Residency Requirements

Many students return to school after having families, jobs, and other responsibilities. While fully online programs are becoming more popular, hybrid programs are also beginning to garner attention. Online programs with residency requirements allow students to mold their education around their daily lives while providing extra support for them on campus. These are some other advantages of hybrid programs:

  • Greater Opportunities for Networking

Fully online courses do not stop students from making academic and interpersonal connections; however, the on-campus experience is important for those who desire a richer college experience. With hybrid programs, learners study partly online and partly on-campus. This means that while they can mold their studies around their schedules, there is also time to meet with professors, make new friends, and engage in social activities in their schools. Online programs with residency requirements are beneficial for students who are working already and want to expand their network.

  • Academic Resources

In most cases, the students in brick-and-mortar university programs have access to more academic resources than their online counterparts. This includes research materials in university libraries, support services, and access to reference researchers. When students have access to these resources, it positively impacts their success. Since hybrid learners also visit the school’s campus, they have access to these resources.

  • Flexibility

One of the most helpful aspects of a hybrid program is its flexibility, especially when it comes to class schedules. The student in a hybrid program has the best of both worlds, with online and on-campus options in the balance. Students with full-time jobs, families, or both can afford to focus on the classes that match their interests and align with their professional goals.

  • Cost

In general, hybrid programs do not cost more than traditional or fully-online programs. Hybrid programs have similar costs to purely online courses. Additionally, students in hybrid settings perform better on average when compared with their counterparts in traditional degree programs. This goes a long way to show that hybrid education is a solid investment.

Regardless of the learning methodology you choose, there are advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the students to look at both sides and decide what aligns with their personal and career goals.

Conclusion on What is A Hybrid Class

There has never been a better time to begin your journey into learning online. Irrespective of your location or field of specialization, universities or colleges offer hybrid programs that suit your academic and professional goals. Many others will allow you to thrive while focusing on your daily responsibilities. You can visit our educational resource center to learn more about top schools offering hybrid programs and the different career options available.

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