One of the ‘new kids on the block’ in terms of degrees is a type of distance learning program referred to as a hybrid degree program. Distance learning hybrid degree programs incorporate features of both online educational instruction as well as on-campus study. The reason for combining the two different teaching methods is that it was recognized that some knowledge and skills cannot adequately be conveyed online. In order for students to be taught effectively, sometimes it is necessary to receive instruction from someone who is physically present. Lectures and demonstrations are very effective for this purpose.
The myriad of colleges that offer distance learning options understand this and have begun to offer hybrid programs.
The Appeal of Hybrid Degree Programs
The whole point behind offering distance learning options to students is to offer academic flexibility for working professionals. By offering hybrid degree program, colleges attempt to minimize the time that students have to spend in physical classrooms.
The degree has components of online and on-campus instruction. The amount of time isn’t always evenly split between the two methods of instruction. Some programs have a larger on-campus requirement, while others have a larger online component. These differences in the degree programs offered makes it necessary for prospective students to thoroughly explore the different hybrid programs available and choose the one which caters to their specific needs.
Are Hybrid Degree Programs for you?
Here’s a checklist to help you determine whether or not a hybrid program is right for you:
These are just some of the many questions you’ll need to consider when trying to find a hybrid program that’s right for you.
How to Choose a Hybrid Degree Program That’s Right for you
Listed below are three very important considerations that anyone interested in a hybrid program must consider.
1. How much campus time do you feel you’ll need?
The amount of time that you need on campus will vary from the time other students might need. The time requirement needed on campus is largely a personal choice.
If the campus is far from where you live, you’ll need to make arrangements when you come to the college – where will you be staying? How long will you be staying for? Are you looking at a hotel or will you stay in a dorm room? What personal requirements will you need to satisfy when coming to the campus? How long can you afford to be away from your responsibilities at home?
These are all questions you’ll have to consider carefully when enrolling in a hybrid degree program.
2. Does the online component of the hybrid program suit your needs?
Each university structures the online component of its hybrid degree programs differently. The differing structures can have the potential to impact your learning outcomes and overall satisfaction with the course.
For instance, some online components require students to participate in weekly activities such as interactive discussions, video lectures, and the submission of written assignments. The deadlines of some of these requirements can be quite rigid and may therefore interfere with your work or family obligations. For this reason, it is important to do some research into the structure of the online component of a hybrid program in order to ensure that it doesn’t clash with your personal obligations and schedule.
3. Weigh the costs
Degree programs can be expensive; plain and simple. For any prospective student, weighing costs is a very important part of the process.
Students may wrongly assume that because hybrid programs involve a large online component, they won’t be that expensive. In reality, hybrid programs can cost just as much as on-campus programs.
Any financial decision involves a weighing of the pros and cons; don’t get duped into thinking that a cheaper option is less academically rigorous than a more expensive one. You need to do proper research into each program and what it entails. What financial aid options are available, if any, which can help you cover the tuition costs? Does the program offer enough for what it’s charging? Does this program have the potential to steer you in the right direction, in terms of where you want to go with your career?
It might be helpful to make a pros and cons list when trying to determine which hybrid program is right for you. These offer both components, online and on-campus, for an engaging and holistic approach to gaining a degree. Working professionals and individuals with family obligations will benefit greatly from the flexibility that these programs offer. Nevertheless, it’s important to see which particular program is right for you specifically, as each program and its format of delivery varies.
Are you a working professional who doesn’t have time to commit to a full time on-campus program?
Do you have family obligations?
Do you feel that you would benefit from learning from an instructor?
Do you have very specific requirements which you feel can only be properly catered to by a hybrid program?