Preserving Affordable Higher Education is Key to Preserving America’s Strength
The current economy threatens to limit Americans’ access to higher education. As a result, many institutions are looking at online classes as a solution, expanding the number of students served while reducing overall costs. Although online education has succeeded in many ways, the hybrid educational model is another option which may prove much more beneficial to both the student and the institution.
The hybrid format, which combines an online component with a classroom component, is a concept which better advances the goals of higher education. Protecting the reputation of the institution, attracting research money, integrating students into the college community, stimulating debate and discussion, and providing accurate assessment and feedback in every course are absolutely critical issues. Analyzing the curriculum in target departments, thereby creating a structure that ensures the best scholastic outcomes is vital to the student, the institution, and society. Other goals are also important, such as socializing the student in preparation for a career, or assessing educational strengths and weaknesses to tailor a more suitable curriculum to the student. Many of these goals are not as desirably accomplished with strictly online classes.
Some institutions have already experimented with the hybrid format, with mixed results. It is important not to base a program strictly on cost, but a cost-to-benefit strategy that can achieve the best possible outcomes. The purpose of this forum is to share experiences emanating from this educational format, thereby advancing the model.
© 2012 Laurie Mena