You must "take it home with you" and frequently communicate and work on the course before and/or after your "face-to-face" class meeting during the week and possibly on the weekend, depending on how your professor set up the course and schedule. Flexibility is built in; you will usually have a span of time to complete the online portion and homework. Here are some proven success strategies.
Log In to Your Hybrid Blackboard Site Often
Several times a week (at least three), check the Discussion Forums, the Announcements and Assignments for postings from classmates and changes and/or updates from your professor.
- Make sure you read the class discussion forums before your "in-person" class meeting.
“Keep up to date and always check the announcements so you won't be left behind.”
Check Your NOVA Email Daily
Check your NOVA email daily for emails, updates from your professor or classmates.
- NOVA Email
Taking a hybrid course can help you to become and stay a more organized student!
- Space Management
Keep a clear place to work. Weeding out clutter in your workspace can help. Find a physical workspace where you can do your online assignments with minimum distractions.
- Time Management
Schedule your time for hybrid work in advance each week. Set a regular time to work on the hybrid course and "pretend" that it's class time. Keep track of assignment due dates.
Keep Up With Your Hybrid Course
- If you begin falling behind or feel overwhelmed with your weekly hybrid assignments contact your professor immediately. Visit before/after class or make an appointment during his/her office hours.
- Make a friend in class who you can contact. Exchange emails, phone numbers early in the semester.
- It is important that you reach out and communicate; make connections; ask questions.
“Schedule a specific time -- at least one other day during the week and pretend that you have class for 2–3 hours with no distractions.”
Read Instructions Carefully/Print Out
- Make sure that you read and reread your assignment—print it out so you don't miss anything. Make sure you complete all aspects of the assignment. It's very easy to overlook something in an online assignment if there is a lot of text.
- Read ahead in the course syllabus to find out when assignments are due and what you have to do first before you can complete them. This is particularly important if the assignments are online, and require computer access.
“Be prepared; don't expect that since it is half online, it will be half the work. Although at times it may feel that you're getting off easy, with having a later due date, or not having to get out of bed for class, it always ends up being the same amount of work, if not more, than a regular English XXX course ... I would advise new students never to procrastinate with the work … it's better if you do it early than late.”
Be Prepared to WriteTypically, you will write a lot more in a hybrid class. Many online assignments will be online discussion based. Make sure you have a writing handbook for reference for consulting about the writing process, grammar and punctuation. Your first year English Composition text such as Rules for Writers or Easy Writer will be just fine. You have a chance to really improve your style and technique in a hybrid course.
Have Basic Technology 'Literacy'
If you're going to take a hybrid course, you should be comfortable enough with computers to be able to (at least) do the following: upload and download files to Blackboard, search and browse the Web, use email, and interact on a discussion forum or bulletin board. You should also know how to download appropriate plug-ins if one is needed to read or view a file.
You should be able to type well, and be able to use basic programs such as Word. Some courses will require you to know how to use other computer programs such as Excel, PowerPoint or Photoshop, so you should check out the course syllabus as early as possible to find out whether you will be able to meet the computer requirements.
You should have a fast (broadband) connection, either through a cable modem, a DSL, or a ‘hardwired’ campus or public library computer.
Have a Technology Backup Plan
- Anticipate that you will occasionally have computer problems. Identify multiple ways to access the Internet to complete your hybrid work online if your computer crashes. If your household loses Internet service, etc., contact your instructor as possible by phone or email to notify them of your foreseen problem.
- Early in the semester, identify a ‘go to’ friend and have their phone number handy.
- Know how to contact the IT Help Desk at 703.426.4141.
Some material adapted from:
Drexel University - Scott Warnock
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Alan Aycock