A short but worthwhile article discussing some research on hybrid courses. Our own institutional data (@ Cuyahoga Community College) also shows a lot of promise relating to student success in hybrid courses.
Author: Steve Kolowich
Inside Higher Ed Article
September 22, 2009
The question of whether distance education is as effective as classroom education is hotly debated in academe and largely unanswered by existing studies. However, new research from South Texas College suggests that hybrid courses — those that are offered online but also involve substantial face time — can produce better outcomes than those that are delivered exclusively on the Web or in the classroom.
Researchers at the community college, led by Brenda S. Cole, analyzed the spring 2009 grades of every student enrolled there. The scholars’ basis for assessing outcomes was straightforward: “A,” “B,” or “C” grades qualified as successful outcomes; “D” and “F” grades counted as unsuccessful.
The data showed that, over all, 82 percent of students of hybrid courses were successful, compared to 72 percent of classroom courses and 60 percent of distance courses.
These findings require some qualification, Cole said. When broken down by individual instructor, the data show no difference in the outcomes across the different delivery methods — meaning that the overall figures do not account for the grading habits of particular instructors, which could be a confounding variable. (At the same time, the sample size for the instructor subgroup was too small to render statistically significant findings — South Texas has offered hybrid courses only since 2006, and relatively few professors teach in all three modalities.)
Still, hybrid courses showed outcomes superior to distance and traditional courses when researchers controlled for other factors. Students who took all three types of courses generally performed best in the hybrid ones. And hybrid classes bested the other delivery methods in courses affiliated with the college’s business and technology, health, and liberal arts and social sciences programs. Only in the math and science and bachelor’s degree programs did traditional students do the best — and hybrid-course students outperformed distance-education students in every instance.