Wood Hall 303 socially distanced learning. (Photo Credit: Travis Boulanger)
The “college experience” is different for this year’s students. Universities are just one facet of life that has changed due to COVID-19. At UW-Green Bay, one of these changes is the hybrid course: half in-person, half online instruction, making the best of both worlds for professors and students. Where students A-J are physically in class on Tuesdays, and K-Z are physically present Thursdays.
Comm professor Shauna Froelich teaches Communication Law at the University of Green Bay, as a hybrid course in Fall of 2020, an opportunity she eagerly accepted.
“Law is discussion based as learning law because it’s a difficult subject,” she said. “As soon as rooms became available for hybrid I sent a request to sign up.” She is a proponent of in-person learning, continuing, “I think it’s better for students to have in person [instruction] – even if it’s partial time – than to be fully online without discussion or more Q&A.”
Trying something new doesn’t come without its challenges. Student Matthew Knoke, who is taking Communication Law as a hybrid, explains some students might have a hard time keeping up with classes if they decide not to watch the videos. He finds hybrid classes a great solution given the circumstances.
“I’d much rather have hybrid classes than online classes, because it gives us chances of having discussions that are more meaningful instead of online discussions,” he said. “The sense of community is kind of gone from remote classes, depending on if cameras are off or if nobody is participating. Hybrid classes allow for a sense of community even if it’s only once a week.”
Students preparing for their first Comm. Law hybrid exam. (Photo Credit Travis Boulanger)
What will the future of higher education look like in a post-COVID-19 world? Some students may realize they thrive on flexibility, says Professor Froelich. Others may be relieved to return to the classroom again. “I think higher ed is changing,” she stated. “I think there’s an opportunity down the road for a residential synchronized program, face-to-face, and also a whole online Comm program.”
Hybrid Classes: Positives & Negatives
Infographic Credit: Wynna Bonde