Dan O’Hair, Dean of the College of Communications and Information Studies at the University of Kentucky and past-president of the National Communication Association (NCA), is a leader in the field of communication. At the NCA 2010 annual conference, Dr. O’Hair presented on his experiences with online and hybrid instruction.
Online and hybrid education has many benefits and consequences for scheduling, faculty resources, and student engagement in the classroom. According to O’Hair, three major issues face the adoption and success of online and hybrid instruction:
- Content. The information in the course should remain a leading factor in the decision about taking a course to the online or hybrid market. Course content and learning objectives cannot be sacrificed in favor of delivery. However, this raises intriguing questions about the use of technology in classes. Technologies should be chosen with course content in mind. This may also suggest that some classes should employ certain tools on a regular basis. Are we failing students by not incorporating information technology into the delivery of selected classes?
- Market Trends. E-book adoption, distance education, and tuition costs impact the market in higher education. Among students, the jury is still out. Some students love the idea of online and hybrid courses (mostly for their own convenience). Other students prefer technology to remain one part of a set of teaching strategies.
- Instructor Match. The willingness and ability of an instructor to develop a successful online or hybrid course continues to be of great importance. The skills associated with successful face-to-face instruction may be different than the skills used to create effective online learning.