by Kayla Cardenas.
On the fourth floor of the NAC building on April 24th at 12 noon, a dozen professors sat around a wide screen projector. The room was full of faculty who wanted to get an insight on how the hybrid classes really worked. Here at CCNY, less than 1 percent of available classes are hybrid, meaning they are held both online and in the classroom.
David Crismond, a professor of education, teaches one of the hybrid classes for childhood education. Three out of 15 sessions are held online. “I stay on the light side [for the online lectures] because I know the importance of a classroom setting,” says Crismond. “But I wouldn’t hesitate to go for a fourth online class.”
Crismond spoke about a software that he uses for his online meetings called Adobe Connect. Attendance is taken and chats are administered. There is also an icon that you can click to raise your hand and the professor may call on you. Crismond regulates the online class by speaking through a microphone attached to his Macintosh laptop and students can either listen in and/or record the lecture. There is also an option to show the students what he is looking at on his computer. He can show videos or a slideshow he’s made, and has the ability to slow them down to emphasize certain facets.
This isn’t the only option for professors who want to teach an online class. Math professor Andrea Marchese, teaching Math 202, inscribes her lessons on a graphics tablet and then uploads it (onto an online software called Cantasia) and overlaps her voice to explain what the math formulas mean. Though the new technology works well, Marchese doesn’t think it greatly improves her students capacity for learning. “Being more efficient doesn’t mean they do more,” she says. “I’ve seen pretty much the same [results], but [students] do seem happier with the new format.”
Are these hybrid classes really effective? Students are more technology savvy, but professors see how much a classroom setting is better for students. “Hybrid classes aren’t such a bad thing,” says DeVries, an Earth and Atmospheric Science instructor. “Great! There’s technology, but in a classroom I can see if a student is dozing off or looks interested in what I’m saying.”