I was able to feel the growing trend of hybrid courses when I searched online. It responded with not only universities but also community colleges through out the US introducing their own hybrid courses. For example, in Northern Virginia Communities College, they are required to meet once a week in a physical class and once as an online assignment in place of the second meeting. The students are expected to spend at least the same amount of time as they would in a traditional course. The courses differed from ours by having to meet only once a week but considering our course to be a 4-credited, the workload was very similar to that of ours, which required traditional class lecture, online work, and homework assignments. I was able to agree with a student’s advice from the community college that although you don’t have to come to class as often, hybrid classes have bigger workload and lots of responsibility since there are less time to learn from the lecture.
From my experience with this course, I felt that I was more effective in the virtual world but without the physical world, I would not have learned as much as I did. Again, I was able to learn about my fellow students online but would not have learned as much without the participation in discussion section. Thus, in order for an effective learning experience in hybrid class, there needs to be a good balance between offline and online interactions. I think if the UW instructors find a reasonable balance, increasing the use of online components should position students to learn more efficiently. Other than class work, I learned a lot about the Internet in this class and feel a lot more comfortable in using blogs, as I did not have much experience with it before.
From learning the substantive materials in this class, I was able to have a broader perspective on the information society. Since I became more knowledgeable, my abilities of researching, working with PowerPoint, and using blogs have improved. Moreover, the materials we learned in class gave me a chance to trace back the historical roots of virtual world and be more attentive to how today’s online system works. I think online courses would eventually follow the same format of this class regardless of having “information” materials. However, the students will need to fulfill a requirement of having a general knowledge of working with online materials before the beginning of each course.