Similar to the online revolution of the mid-1990s, hybrid-learning classes are redefining
how community college students access higher education. My perspective is based on experiences at two very different institutions: Rio Salado College, a noncampus college based in
Tempe, Ariz., that serves working adults using nontraditional formats, and Foothill-De Anza
Community College District, composed of two large comprehensive colleges in California’s
Silicon Valley that serve traditional and nontraditional students, including working adults.
BY LINDA THOR
DAVID ARKY/GETTY IMAGES
Research on the value of hybrid
courses to community colleges is difficult to compile because definitions
of hybrid courses vary so widely (see
sidebar, page 41). However, I’m increasingly convinced that blending online
and face-to-face learning, when done in
a well-integrated fashion that capitalizes on the advantages of each, offers a
practical and effective way to meet the
learning needs and expectations of the
multiple generations of students who
populate our colleges.
A recent student survey by the
Center for Community College Student
Engagement found that learners who
received blended instruction reported
being more engaged than those who
took their classes exclusively online.
And a recent meta-analysis of research
on online learning conducted by the
U.S. Department of Education con-
cluded that students in hybrid and fully
online courses outperformed those who
received only face-to-face instruction.
Unfortunately, that study could not
determine whether the greater effective-
ness was due to the delivery mode or the
extra learning time afforded students in
hybrid and online courses.