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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Hybrid course is a class favorite

Friday, November 30, 2007  
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By Wendy Sanders

Biology Department Chair Lisa McWhirter is teaching biology in a new way this semester.

A general education hybrid biology course is being taught by McWhirter this fall. The course covers biology II material, but is laid out in a different way.

“The course was traditionally set up to meet twice a week for two hours at a time,” McWhirter said.  “Class meetings included lectures, discussions and labs.”

Although the class meets weekly to complete labs, most of the work is done through online lectures and videos.

Students Nicah Lowry and Leana Wion enjoy the course because of its flexibility and layout.

“When a class is online, you have the option of doing it when you can, whether it’s at three in the afternoon or midnight,” Lowry said. “That way I don’t have to sit in a classroom when there are more important things I need to be doing.”

The online aspect of the class is its biggest attraction.

“Students are getting the same content in the hybrid format except the lectures are recorded with the power points and posted online instead of being delivered in the classroom,” McWhirter said. “The two hours worth of lectures are broken down into segments of about 20 minutes each.  The lectures also include brief movies and animations to demonstrate the concepts covered.”

Wion is a music major and spends most of her time focusing on her music and other classes associated with her major.

“[The online lectures] are about 10-15 minutes in length, and there are generally only four of them and a worksheet to go with each lecture to cover the main points,” Wion said. “These lectures you can do anytime throughout the week before class, and you don’t have to sit down and listen to them all at once. It’s more of a matter of convenience.”

Oklahoma Christian University offers several online courses including Old Testament, accounting, marketing and management.

Tarryn Desouza prefers taking the hybrid class and appreciates the learning style.

“Time management is made easier by not having to come to class, and sometimes lectures take less time to do than actual class time,” Desouza said. “There is also playback, so if I missed some notes I can replay the lecture to fill in the notes I previously missed. Also, there are diagrams and animations that are helpful in the learning process.”

Compared to past biology classes, students prefer this class for reasons other than just the time it saves.

“I am in two biology classes right now; one regular and then this hybrid,” Lowry said. “The hybrid is, by far, my favorite. I’m learning what I need to learn in less time than in the classroom. It’s all about the bottom line for me, and the hybrid class teaches me what I need to learn without the extra ‘fluff.’”

Josh Bouye is a Bible major and appreciates the ability to look at class notes rather than listening and having to keep up with notes.

“You learn just as much if not more with the lectures being online,” Bouye said. “Sometimes I don’t take very good notes, and with the lectures, you are given worksheets/activities to do that cover the lectures. So I, in turn, use those and my book to study for my tests, and it has proved very helpful.”

Oklahoma Christian is holding more and more online courses. This hybrid biology class is the new form for integrating personal teacher relations and online technology.

“I think this is something more classes need to look at,” Lowry said. “Not all students have the same lives and schedules. Some [students] have priorities other than sitting in a classroom at 3 p.m. on a Monday.”

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