In our last issue, we told you about the new hybrid classes being offered in Human Development and Psychology (see here for article). Since this is new to our departments, it’s fair to assume that most of you have not taken courses like these before and might be a bit more nervous than usual about your schedule in the Spring.
Rest assured, The Pink Flamingo is here to help. Below are several tips that we put together by talking with hybrid/on-line course instructors to try and help you make the most of these classes.
Anticipate Differences in the Course Structure
Different hybrid courses are going to be structured in different ways, especially in how they use the scheduled meeting dates. Some instructors may use the meeting dates for exams while others will use them for group work, discussions, guest speakers, student presentations, etc. You should plan on there being differences and make sure you know how your instructor plans on using the meeting dates.
Don’t Get Behind
Because hybrid courses are largely on-line, they will likely be more self-paced than an in-person class and there will be more you need to do on your own. Depending on the course, this might include listening to lectures, keeping up with additional readings, participating in on-line discussion, etc. Depending on how organized, motivated, likely to procrastinate, etc. you are, falling behind might be a problem. You should plan on spending just as much time on these each week as you would an in-person class and it’s best to work on things a couple times a week instead of waiting until a deadline and trying to cram everything in. In addition to doing better in the class, you’ll probably learn more too!
Solve Technical Problems Right Away
Related to not getting behind, make sure you solve any technical problems that come up immediately. If you are having problems accessing something for the online component of a class, don’t wait to try and solve the problem. Contact the Learning Technology Center to get their help (firstname.lastname@example.org, 920-465-2286) as soon as possible. Keep in mind that their hours are from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday so waiting until the last minute might get you into trouble.
Don’t Miss Meeting Dates
Missing class is never good but it’s even worse when you only have two to four meeting times in a semester. In fact, it’s likely that attendance at those class periods will be required with significant consequences if you are missing. Before you sign up for a class, make sure you can make all the meeting dates. Likewise, unless something unavoidable happens (e.g., illness, family emergency), don’t miss them (this is actually a pretty good rule for any class, hybrid or not!).
Get Involved and Ask Questions
The fact that much of the course is online shouldn’t keep you from getting to know your classmates or your instructor. You should make sure to introduce yourself to your instructor and your classmates, to get involved in class discussions, and to ask questions. Just like an in-person class, what you get out of it will depend greatly on what you put into it.
If you have Concerns, Ask Questions
Finally, if you are nervous about the structure of the class, have questions about how the meeting dates will be used, or any other questions, ask! Your instructors know that most of you haven’t taken courses like this before and that you might not know what to expect and are happy to answer your questions.