Common Pitfalls in Online Course: A Hybrid Perspective

The “5 pitfalls” essay addresses the need to view the hybrid course as an opportunity to increase engagement with the student as a step towards enhancing their learning. It is very easy to lose sight of the person on the other side of the screen . The new learning platform is fraught with technology challenges for the student and the professor. Further, the technology development itself is evolving and we have to play a role to understand some of the limitations and work with the development team to fix it. Just like there are skills to be gained in order to be effective in the traditional classroom; one has to accept that there is a learning curve to excel as a teacher in a hybrid environment. This is particularly true for a generation that has not been raised on interacting with gadgets from an early age. All this implies that there is a fairly large lead time to develop, implement and refine a successful hybrid course and it may take several iterations to get it right.


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2 Responses to Common Pitfalls in Online Course: A Hybrid Perspective

  1. Kate says:

    Maybe I am a bit of a cynic…. but I’m not sure that I agreed with all the pitfalls mentioned, or their solutions. I sometimes wonder if we are falling into a common modern-education trap, which is confusing “active learning” and “entertainment.” I worry that the ECampus model is to cater to a short attention span, and to mix things up with web content and media. When do we cut to the chase and let students learn, and when do we overwhelm with pictures and sound and flashing lights, for the Wii generation?

    I did like one comment that I read:
    “Students learn most effectively through experience and “doing,” in
    a context where they can apply their knowledge to situations that are familiar and relevant, rather than
    through passive transmittal of theoretical information”

    so finding a nice path between entertainment, and “doing” learning, can be hard.

  2. Allen says:

    I want to respond to your remark that “It is very easy to lose sight of the person on the other side of the screen.” This is really true for exclusively on-line learning environments.

    I’ve done a good amount of teaching on-line in the past 5 years or so and believe it’s the fact that I don’t interact in person with the on-line students that is the biggest draw back, and in several ways. First, it’s easy to forget that you’ve got a class going on *at all*! I never have this experience with my regular classes, in part because I’m sued to having responsibilities to other people I see regularly. Working only on the computer makes it seem like it’s only the computer I’m answering to, so it can slip my mind. Second, it is almost impossible to associate ideas with a person, when that person is only a name on a screen. In this context it’s very difficult to remember who said what, who’s always making what kind of mistake, or who can be depended on to come up with something helpful to say – it’s just one discussion board post followed by another. Unlike when you can see and remember the person by their actual presence and their face, conditions under which we are used to attributing qualities to different people and keeping track of their progress.

    So, I’m have really high hopes that the hybrid style will overcome these, what I think of as very serious obstacles to on-line education ever being really useful. Without some actual and repeated face-to-face time, it hard for me to imagine that somethings not lost.

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