Study: Hybrid class works for college students

College statistics students in a hybrid class — online instruction plus a one-hour face-to-face session — performed slightly better than the control group and spent 1.7 fewer hours per week on the course, write William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Kelly A. Lack and Thomas I. Nygren in Education Next.

“The effect of the hybrid-format course did not vary when controlling for race/ethnicity, gender, parental education, primary language spoken, score at the standardized pretest, hours worked for pay, or college GPA,” the authors report.

Half the students who participated come from families with incomes less than $50,000 and half are first-generation college students. Less than half are white, and the group is about evenly divided between students with college GPAs above and below 3.0.

Carnegie Mellon designed the hybrid course, which was taught at public universities in New York and Maryland.

Students in the control group received three to four hours of face-to-face instruction each week.

Moving to the hybrid model could cut the costs by 19 percent to 57 percent, depending on whether professors do all the teaching or assign sections to teaching assistants, the authors estimate.

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  1. I could see big benefits from this– students could ‘attend lecture’ when they’re alert and ready to learn instead of at 8:00 on a cold February morning…..

  2. I completed a hybrid Microbiology course at a local community college last summer. The labs were in person and the lectures were voice over power point.
    I did reasonably well and appreciated that I didn’t have to spend my whole week on campus.
    However, slogging through multi-hour power points on ones own was challenging. Many people in my class did not watch all of the power points. Those that did most of the course work and prep did well. Those that didn’t struggled to pass.

  3. I believe it all except that it will take fewer faculty-hours. I spend way more time on building and maintaining the online stuff for my hybrid courses than I do prepping and lecturing to my in-person courses.

    • Roger Sweeny says:


      A high school physics teacher I know moved much of his course online. He said that it was a tremendous amount of work, but now that it’s done, it doesn’t have to be done again. Do you think the same thing will happen with you?