As distance learning has grown over the past 10 years, some colleges and universities have experimented with a “middle path” between classroom and pure online teaching. So called “blended” courses have been tried by many professors. And while it looks like 100% online courses will continue to be the fastest growth area, you may encounter some blended course options if you start looking at schools near your home.
According to the Sloan Consortium, a blended course is one where 30 – 79% of the teaching is delivered online. At present, state universities tend to offer them more frequently than private schools, and they’re most often used at the master’s degree level.
Students Like A Blend
The consortium’s recent study of blended courses, called “Blending In,” is so careful about not offending academics (many of who still see distance learning mainly as a threat to their careers) that it doesn’t draw many clear conclusions. But the bottom line is that students seem to like a blended approach. In Sloan’s survey of students who have taken various types of courses, 33% indicated a preference for courses with some combination of online and classroom learning. That’s a higher percentage than those who said they liked pure online courses.
Right now, you’re more likely to find blended courses at state universities than private schools. They’re most often used at the master’s degree level (though many companies use blended courses to train employees).
It’s hard to predict what subject you’re likely to find a blended course in. But if you are studying at a school within driving distance of your home, a blended course is something you may want to be open to, based on the good response this type of approach has gotten from other students.