In Class vs Hybrid vs Online Courses

What follows is a comparison of my 16 and 12 week course methodologies, excluding honors courses.

16–Week Online Courses

Online courses are best for self–starters who can grasp complex concepts on their own, as they read each week’s lesson online. Be warned, some students assume an online philosophy class will be easier than an in–class course. Generally, the opposite is true.

16–Week Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses combine the best of the online and classroom environments. That is, students recieve in–class explanation of complex concepts, and are afforded a weekly opportunity to discuss questions with the professor. However, these classroom meetings only take up about half the time of a normal week of in–class lectures. Also, my Hybrid courses include weekly online quizzes which can be beneficial in preparing for exams. So, Hybrid classes are best for students who are able to learn about half the week’s lesson online—but still prefer the classroom environment to fully understand the material.

16–Week In–Class Courses

In the traditional classroom setting, everything necessary for completion of the course is thoroughly explained in person by the professor. There are no online quizzes or discussion posts—which can be a relief for the technologically challenged. Do bear in mind, however, that all essays are still submitted online (this can be done at the Writing Center, where college staff can assist you). Lectures tend to be over 3 hours, but you recieve the immediate, guided, professional and social support that only a classroom can provide. Additionally, grading for the course tends to be exam–based. If you want weekly online quizzes, you may prefer to take the Hybrid version of the course.

12–Week Online Courses

This is the most difficult version of any course I teach. What other students cover in 16 weeks is now truncated to 12. That can be a significant hurdle for some. It’s also completely online, so, while there will be an online lesson from the professor each week to read, and there will be limited discussion posts from your fellow students, there will be no recourse to classroom discussion or explanation. Lastly, because of the loss of time from 16 weeks to 12, there are no dropped grades. You must have 3 completed and graded essays for my course. So, in the rare cases that these 12–week courses are offered, I would advise you only to take them if you are confident that the contraction of time from 16 weeks to 12 (and all that that entails) will NOT cause a significant drop in your course grade. Many of your fellow students have taken on that challenge and done very well.