Campuses not meeting demand for hybrid classes

The survey of 20,000 students showed that 34 percent of students prefer on-campus classes, slightly more than 31 percent of prospective students.

The “simplicity” of entirely-online classes – in which students can complete almost all their work without leaving their home computer – might stunt the growth of hybrid classes, which require occasional trips to campus, the Eduventures survey said.

Raymond Rose, a longtime online education developer who works with colleges to create online education programs, said the gap between supply and demand of hybrid classes could be the result of hardheadedness among some in higher education.

“A number of professors reject [the popularity of hybrid courses] because it doesn’t meet their belief system,” he said, adding that resistance remains a decade after online courses began gaining traction among college students. “Even though the train has left the station, there are still folks who aren’t doing anything with online education.”

It remains difficult to define a hybrid class, Rose said. Classes that meet twice a week in person and classes that meet twice a month can both be considered hybrid.

“There needs to be a clearer definition of what hybrid actually means … because they can look very different,” he said.

Small colleges and universities could use the appeal of hybrid courses to attract local students looking for curriculum that fits their schedules – especially adult learners – while getting face-to-face instruction for professors in a lecture setting.

“Hybrid may be a way for smaller/mid-sized nonprofits to couple their online ambitions with local/regional brands and avoid an ultra-competitive national online market,” the report said.