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Conducting a Research on Hybrid Classes and Its Impact in the Classroom


The classes combining the traditional face-to-face activities with the online computer-based assignments are named hybrid. The two common types of the hybrid classes are HYD (Distance Learning Hybrids) – when the greater part of the course work is offered via the Internet and HYC (Classroom Hybrids) when 50% of the course material is provided via the Internet and the rest 50 % is offered at class (Austin Community College). These models proved to be more effective than the courses using only one method of presentation of the material. Farnsworth (2007) noted that “The hybrid class can bring together the best of both worlds. Every course could benefit from being a hybrid” (p. 106).

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The local problems of implementing hybrid classes may be connected with the financing, as the costs are required for providing the Internet access, the rooms for conducting the face-to-face discussions and education of the instructors. But the first step that is to be taken when the hybrid course is started is the choice of the type of the class, whether it is going to be HYC or HYD, the organizational moments, such as the date of conducting the campus discussion, the room of gathering, contact information of the instructors. All this data is to be uploaded to the website and be available for all the students.

The next step is to check the Internet access and to make sure that the assignments will not be connected with the technical problems both at class and for the students at home – the format of the attached files, the necessary software and equipment are to be discussed beforehand. The next steps are education of the teachers and their preparation for the beginning of the course, as it will require a proper level of the technical and methodological preparation. The organizational and financial problems are to be solved before the course starts, solving these problems in a timely manner will prevent both students and teachers from facing the numerous unpredictable challenges.

The mixed method of research, combining both qualitative and quantitative techniques, would be the most effective for evaluating the impact of the hybrid course on the students’ achievements compared to the only distant or only campus courses, based on the same material.

Conducting the quantitative part of the research it is necessary to choose the comparison groups taking the distant and campus courses and at the end of the course to suggest them the same as the hybrid group assessment assignment. Lodico, Spaulding, and Voegtle (2006) noted that in experimental research “the researcher controls or manipulates one or more independent variables and examines the effect that the experimental manipulation has on the dependent variable or the outcome of the study” (p. 178).

In the case of the hybrid course the independent variable is the method of study, consequently, it is possible to vary the number of hours spent at class and distantly, but this experiment is to be well-planned beforehand. This could be combined with the qualitative techniques. Creswell (2009) noted that “Qualitative research takes place in the natural setting” (p. 181). It means that the teacher’s personal observations at class are valuable as well.

For developing a theoretical framework of a problem it can be offered to conduct more experimental researches and review the related literature, as well as the conferences devoted to the discussion of the problem might be helpful for making the terms generally accepted and sharing the experience. Scida and Saury (2006) noted that “the evidence clearly shows improvement in student learning and quality of classroom instruction” (p. 528).

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But the conclusions of the research depend upon the numerous factors, that is why developing a more detailed theoretical framework of the problem and the training of the educators are of crucial importance. Knowles, Holton and Swanson (2005) noted that “human resources development (HRD) as a process of developing and/or unleashing human expertise through organizational development and personnel training and development for the purpose of improving performance at the organizational , work process, and individual levels” (p. 120).

The questions of the psychological aspect of the hybrid studies and the learning atmosphere arose. Wang, Zhang and Lee (2009) noted that “quality interaction among students and instructor are conducive to a positive learning atmosphere, one that is marked by socializing, rapport, connections, debates, and open negotiation” (p. 115). The question is whether it is necessary to simplify the process of learning or it would be better for the students to struggle against the difficulties of expressing one’s opinion in public. One more issue is whether the distant and campus parts of the hybrid courses are to be equal or it is reasonable to give preference to one of the parts.


The hybrid courses proved to be more effective than the courses not combining distant and face-to-face activities. Bender (2003) noted that hybrid courses “would provide … opportunities to work at the analytical, synthesis, and even evaluative levels” (p. 151). The organizational moments and the financial questions are to be considered before the start of the course. The teachers’ training and the conferences should support the proper level of the educators’ preparation. The method of hybrid classes provides plenty of opportunities for the further researches and experiments.

Reference List

Bender, T. (2003) Discussion-based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning: Theory, Practice, Assessment. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Creswell, J. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Web.

Distance Learning. Austin Community College. n.a.n.d. Web.

Farnsworth, K.A., Bevis, T.B. (2007). A Fieldbook for Community College Online Instructors. Washington.

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Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. F., III, & Swanson, R. A. (2005). The Adult Learner (6th ed.). New York, NY: Elsevier Publishing.

Lodico, M., Spaulding, D., & Voegtle, K. (2006). Methods in Educational Research: From Theory to Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Scida, E.E., Saury, R.E. (2006). Hybrid Courses and Their Impact on Student and Classroom Performance: A Case Study at the University of Virginia. CALICO Journal. 23(3), 517- 531.

Wang, F.L., Zhang, L., Lee S. K. (eds) (2009). Hybrid Learning and Education. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

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