President explores possibility of online and hybrid classes

Guilford College currently does not offer many online classes, but this may change soon.

One of Jane Fernandes’ goals for Guilford is to increase the number of both online and hybrid courses.

“I think it is a great new way for students to take classes, and I think that a lot of students will try it out to see if they like it,” said junior Austin Seibert. “It will definitely be helpful for some students that may be behind or that are excited about trying new things.”

Many colleges and universities offer online courses. A study done in 2012 titled “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” determined that almost 7 million college students took at least one course online in 2011.

“(Hybrid) classes would be offered in this format, where students and the professor meet face to face for some of the class meeting times, and the rest of the time they are reading, writing, watching videos, participating in online discussions and preparing presentations,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Beth Rushing. “Much of the out-of-class work would be done online, though not all of it would be.

“With a fully online class, there may be only one or two face-to-face class meetings (or none), and the majority of the course work would be done online.”

Fully online classes will give students the ability to take classes online while receiving full credit.

“Some students think that taking a hybrid or online class would be easier than a face-to-face class,” said Rushing. “The reality is quite the opposite. Online or hybrid courses require a high degree of self-motivation and strong time management skills.

“Online courses are just as rigorous as face-to-face classes, and they require regular attention from the student and the professor.”

Departments with classes that will be taught online are computing technology and information systems, business, psychology, justice and policy studies and theatre studies. Other departments may also offer online classes in the future.

“How would this not be a benefit to creating a welcoming atmosphere to CCE students?” said CCE Student Government Association Treasurer and junior Jeffrey Ray. “We can work our jobs, support our families and attend classes when we have time during our busy schedules. I can also see how this may weaken our viability as an active part of this campus.”

Many students on campus are excited that Guilford is considering offering online classes.

“I think they’re a great idea for people who have the time management skills to do them well,” said junior Bex Hyman. “I think they’re a great idea for January Term and summer and would really help with general requirements.”