The student surveys uncovered several aspects of hybrid courses that, if improved, would likely increase student satisfaction and success. Specifically, areas related to rewarding learning experiences and meaningful instructor and student communication warrant further consideration.
In January, a majority of students agreed that:
- a hybrid course would allow them to learn as much as a face-to-face course,
- they would interact with the instructor sufficiently (as compared to a face-to-face course), and
- they would be able to find the needed tech support on campus.
The May survey revealed a slight drop in agreement in each of these areas. Results indicated that compared to a face-to-face course:
- 33% of students felt they did not learn as much,
- 47% of students felt that they were learning on their own,
- 42% of students felt that they did not interact sufficiently with their instructor, and
- 30% of students felt that they were not able to network with peers.
Since one-third of students indicated that they felt they may not have learned as much in their hybrid course as they would have in a comparable face-to-face course, these results warrant deeper investigation. Interpreters of this data should bear in mind that these are self-evaluated responses based on student suppositions and can be analyzed in a number of ways. More research is needed to make reasonable conclusions about student learning outcomes in hybrid/online courses.
To more effectively assess student satisfaction with these courses, additional investigations should attempt to pinpoint whether certain classes drive student dissatisfaction or whether discontent exists across a range of courses. Additionally, on a more general level, gathering specific information about students’ experiences could help illuminate why certain students felt that they were “learning on their own” and why a significant minority of students did not feel they learned as much in their hybrid/online courses. Future surveys might also ask students to specify what kinds of materials they engaged with in their hybrid class to further investigate students’ learning experiences in hybrid/online courses. Knowledge of students’ experiences can help gauge the effectiveness of hybrid/online pedagogical practices, and assist the College in further developing high-quality hybrid/online courses. Future course and faculty development initiatives should foster implementation of these best practices.