October 22, 2020

Zooming In: Student Thoughts on Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses, while necessary to minimize COVID-19 exposure on campus, may be detracting from the valuable community aspect of a Capital University education.

Midterm break marks the end of academic week 7 for Capital students, but only three of those weeks have included in-person learning. Following a fully remote “First Four,” Capital University welcomed students back to main campus and classroom instruction on September 21, with courses falling into one of three categories: fully remote, completely in-person, and a hybrid blend.

Sophomore English Literature major Megan Shoemaker finds the in-person days of hybrid courses to be a release from the monotony of Zoom calls.

“It’s nice to get back into a normal class environment,” Shoemaker says, although also citing how technical difficulties have interrupted class even on in-person days.

Erin Norman, a second-year Accounting student agrees, finding that in-person classes facilitate clearer communications between professors and students.

“My biggest problem with online sessions is when professors try to write on white boards and you have no idea what they’re saying,” Norman states.

 If Zoom has taught students anything, it’s that the handwriting skills of professors are not always up for the challenge of the WhiteBoard feature.

Communication issues are also the key concern of sophomore Middle Childhood Education major Jae Merrick, who wishes that professors were able to be a bit more understanding.

 “This situation is new to everyone,” Merrick remarks, “and it’s rough for students who already have trouble focusing, like me.”

Not all students have been having difficulties with their hybrid classes, though. Junior Film and Media Production major Matthew Longfellow has not had any problems with the quality of his hybrid classes, although he admits to hearing horror stories from friends.

“Across the board, as long as professors keep iLearn up to date, things have been working well for me,” Longfellow remarks.

Third-year Computer Science and Mathematics double major Nathan Molby also cites iLearn as his least favorite part of hybrid learning.

When asked if he had any suggestions for improving his hybrid courses, Molby responded, “Less discussion boards—nobody likes those.”

Ultimately, it is clear that hybrid courses are not the first choice of Capital University students. But although we might be desperate to get back to in-person whiteboards and away from the dreaded discussion forums, the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic will force us to endure hybridity for at least a bit longer.

  • Emily is a sophomore English literature major at Capital, and a reporter and distribution manager for the Chimes. When she's not carting papers around campus, Emily enjoys watching Jeopardy, bothering her cats, and eating mac and cheese. edietz@capital.edu.

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