What Instructors have to Say

On Students

Rachel Spilka, Business and Technical Writing, Univ. Wisconsin, Milwaukee

My students were now required to exercise the kind of maturity, responsibility, and flexibility necessary to initiate, sustain, and complete writing projects. They needed to use their own judgment to overcome the challenges of collaborating with people they hardly knew, in order to produce coherent, high-quality documents. And through Blackboard discussion forums, they were required to extend their thinking much further than in traditional face-to-face discussions. Students could reflect on their own ideas over a longer period of time and benefit from one another's responses. In fact, I had never before been able to elicit from the students the kind of high quality analysis and thinking that I could from my hybrid students through this new way of teaching. Students working online learn to explain their thoughts more completely, and some clearly gain a certain analytical distance from their initial ideas. As a result, these students produced much more thoughtful, tactful, and sensitive memos, letters, and reports than have students in my traditional, face-to-face classes.

On Computer Accessibility

John (Jack) Johnson, Business & Professional Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Numerous students have thanked me for making the course content available online. I will never forget the email that I received from the single parent who said, "Just wanted to thank you for this course. It's 9:30 p.m.; I just got my boys to sleep, and it's time to begin your class. Thanks for making this happen. Without it, I would not be able to work, take care of my kids and finish my college degree."

Regarding connectivity

John (Jack) Johnson, Business & Professional Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

I have never felt more acquainted with students enrolled in a large enrollment course than I do teaching this course in a hybrid format. Simply put, my days as a lonely Maytag repairman are over. The use of email and the web-based learning has significantly reduced students' unwillingness or inability to communicate with me. During this semester I have averaged just over 20 emails a day from students requesting assistance on assignments, explanations of course content or assignments, quiz answers, and general career advising concerns.

The key to developing successful hybrid courses

Carla Garnham and Robert Kaleta, Learning Technology Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

To teach a successful hybrid course an instructor must invest significant time and effort in redesigning a traditional course. Because class seat time is reduced and a significant part of learning is moved online, instructors must reexamine their course goals and objectives, design online learning activities to meet those goals and objectives, and effectively integrate the online activities with the face-to-face meetings. In addition, many faculty must acquire new teaching skills, such as learning to facilitate online interactions and assess student online learning.