The course I am designing as a hybrid is ALS 161, an advanced Listening and Speaking course for international students in the INTO OSU Pathway programs. This is currently an on-campus workshop style course offered every term for three credits, and normally it meets three times a week, for two hours for each class meeting.
The course is required for all Graduate Pathways students and two-term accelerated Undergraduate Pathways students and is the pre-requisite for these students to take COMM 111.
Enrollment in ALS 161 has grown as INTO OSU has grown. The course enrollment fluctuates throughout the year, mostly because of the limited start dates of the graduate programs. In the current fall term, more than 300 students are enrolled in the course (in sections of around 18 students), though the total number drops to about half of that in winter. The main objectives for the course are to improve comprehension skills and note-taking abilities for lectures in an academic format. Students are also building skills related to giving individual and group presentations. Additional instruction is given in cross-cultural communication styles, non-verbal communication, questioning techniques, and clarifying information.
I have chosen to make the course hybrid to make more efficient use of the students’ and teachers’ time. Language is learned through practice and time, and that’s where I believe a hybrid course will excel for my students. In ALS 161, one of the main objectives is to improve students’ academic listening skills. This means listening to extended clips of academic lectures multiple times. For students learning English as a second language, they often need more time to review the materials and form their responses. Also, because various academic majors are enrolled in the same section, the specific needs of each student vary greatly. Instead of spending valuable class time partaking of listening activities that have been generalized to suite every major, why not give students the tools to customize their learning and practice these very individual skills on their own via online technology? This will also serve as an additional connection to what students are practicing in the face-to-face portion of this class and other classes at OSU.
A hybrid course would also serve the speaking needs of students in terms of practicing pronunciation and speaking skills through web-based recording apps and give the teacher more time for individualized feedback before students complete an in-class presentation.
Additionally, some self-directed learning is also expected of students at Level 6 (the highest INTO OSU level), especially since many of the courses they will be completing at OSU are now being hybridized. Thus, a hybrid course would encourage student autonomy and give students a push to continue enhancing their language skills outside of the classroom while also preparing them for the latest technology methods being utilized throughout the university.