Report: Hybrid courses won’t grow higher education access

Support for classes that involve at least some traditional classroom-based education is shared by prospective college students along with current students enrolled in online classes.

Nineteen percent of students surveyed said they are enrolled in a hybrid class, while 33 percent said they would like to take one or more hybrid courses, according to a report on college student preferences published last year by Eduventures, a Boston-based higher-education consulting company.

The study suggests that some students are “forced into wholly online delivery because there is not enough supply of hybrid courses.”

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.”

The CCRC report said colleges and universities were too “passive” in providing help for students who take all their classes on the internet. The researchers urged campus decision makers to be more proactive in providing student and faculty supports.

Many community colleges studied by the CCRC researchers provide voluntary assessments for students considering online courses, with questions gauging a student’s technological sophistication, for example.

Smith Jaggars and Xu said community colleges should consider making these online-learning assessments mandatory.

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