Business Excellence Awards
Applications are now being accepted for the 14th Annual Business Excellence Awar ...
Incoming college students no longer on the whole represent their recent predecessors, who move from home to a dorm room and dedicate their time solely to learning – and so, educators say, learning structures no longer should be catering exclusively to that model.
“A lot of our students work for pay off campus and spend more time [than their peers] caring for dependents and spend a lot of time commuting to class,” said Joe Zornado, director of the faculty center for teaching and learning at Rhode Island College in Providence. “[But] they [also] want to be college students. So, we can strive for quality and allow our students [to be] set up for success.”
This line of thinking is part of the reason for RIC’s new certificate in hybrid teaching and learning, a professional-development program aimed to help teachers cross the threshold into this modernized learning environment.
Hybrid teaching, said Zornado and his co-worker Marie Beardwood, the center’s academic technologist, involves dividing course instruction in a 50-50 split between online and in-classroom activity.
For as long as the Internet and email have been around, academic institutions have been utilizing them in various ways – to communicate with students more speedily, to keep them up to speed with developing technologies that one day will factor into their professional lives, and, more recently, to accommodate a new generation that grew up and went through their secondary schooling with those tools.
As generational shifts also have resulted in students who have delayed college or are working part-time toward degrees while already in the workforce, many colleges and universities have offered online-only courses.
Hybrid learning is not that.
“[Students] still need those classic skills that college provides … [and] the most significant piece is [problem-solving],” said Zornado. “This is a lot of what higher education is about – critical thinking. I think hybrid teaching and learning needs to maintain that level of quality.”