THE EVOLUTION OF TEACHING CLIMATE SCIENCES USING TWO HYBRID COURSE FORMATS: A CASE STUDY AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
Delaware State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:In academia, we often discuss the best teaching tools and methods, how they are utilized, how effective they are or aren’t, and whether the students enjoy them or not. There are ongoing debates on how effective hybrid courses are and how they enhance student learning and teaching effectiveness. Hybrid courses or hybrid instructional delivery can be described as the method which allows both face-to-face traditional in-class teaching and online learning activities. Different than traditional in-class teaching or web enhanced courses, hybrid courses merge both in-class instructional delivery tools to enhance student learning via engagement of students in class discussion with hands-on activities that encourage student self-learning, and the use of online materials that enhance critical thinking skills and encourage the search for additional materials.
According to the University of Wisconsin Learning Technology Center, there are three key points of teaching hybrid courses:
(a) web-based learning activities are introduced to complement face-to-face work;
(b) "seat time" is reduced, though not eliminated altogether; and
(c) the web-based and face-to-face components of the course are designed to interact pedagogically to take advantage of the best features of each.”
In 2014, a climatology course was designed using a hybrid arrangement to test the effectiveness of this teaching method for upper-level juniors, seniors, and graduate students with various disciplines (i.e. education, agriculture, natural resources). This case study explores the evolution of this hybrid course model, which encompassed two formats: presentation of material during class and follow-up activities online as format one and the presentation of material online and follow-up hands-on discussions/activities in class as format two. The effectiveness of each format was evaluated by ancillary observation of student performance, and a hybrid format selected for use in the future. We saw obvious differences in how students were much more engaged in discussion before, during, and after the hands-on activities using format two, than with format one. Although student learning was better enhanced with format two, there is room for improvement of this teaching format by providing more discussion materials and hands-on laboratory activities, and allowing more face-to-face time for students to absorb concepts and for the re-teaching of misconceptions. Overall, the hybrid course instructional method provided a pleasant learning experience for our students and allowed the instructors to improve the instructional delivery tool.
Keywords: Hybrid courses, hybrid teaching method, climate science, hands-on experience, on-line learning, web enhanced course, face-to-face traditional in-class teaching.