With matters of work, location and family life to worry about, it is difficult for some graduate students to even attend classes. In an effort to be more accessible for students, Pacific University’s College of Education has created a hybrid program that provides a mix of online and on campus class options.This hybrid delivery format is currently offered in the Masters of Arts and Teaching, Special Education and General Education courses.
According to the Interim Director of the School of Learning & Teaching Anita Zijdemans-Boudreau, literature has shown that hybrid programs are a new standard in education. Classes in the hybrid program provide more flexibility for graduate students by allowing them to choose what days they attend class online, and what days they attend class on campus.
This flexible schedule is possible in the hybrid programs because students taking classes online, and students taking classes on campus are still able to participate and work with each other in real time. The Associate Professor of Education Steven Rhine said this simultaneous connection helps online students feel better connected to the class.
“A huge thing for us in this hybrid program is that we want to create a sense of community,” Rhine said. “We want to model for our future teachers a way of teaching using online tools that also makes it feel more human.”
The hybrid program was created to address the need of graduate students, who were unable to complete courses because of matters outside their control.
“The Hybrid program allows students who have other obligations to still be able to access programs,” Zijdemans-Boudreau said. “Our experience is that not everybody can take time off to be a full-time day student, especially in this day and age where many have to work and take care of loved ones.”
The College of Education hopes that providing more accessibility through the hybrid program will attract more people to the teaching profession. They believe having better access to blended classes types can make it easier for individuals to gain teaching licenses while also retaining their jobs in education.