Today online learning becomes extremely popular, as it provides educational opportunities that were previously unattainable. Still, the literature shows that purely online conditions do not allow to achieve expected results and mixture of online and face-to-face education delivery is the best variant, as it consists of both methods.
Online courses that have only few face-to-face classes are mainly preferred by students, as they provide an opportunity to have a flexible schedule and manage one’s time. They are thought to simplify the process of learning, which is rather attractive (Castle & McGuire, 2010). However, the study conducted by Shi, Du, Jiang, and Saab (2011) showed that traditional education is still preferred among students even though they have access to the Internet. Such results tend to emphasize the fact that the domination of online classes in the program cannot totally satisfy graduates (Shi et al., 2011).
Means, Toyama, Murphy, Bakia, and Jones (2010) stated that there is no critical difference between blended and purely online learning. However, they underlined that the student reflection is promoted not by online programs but by blended ones, which is their advantage. In this way, the authors came to the conclusion that it is critical to consider the number of online and face-to-face classes, and include in the program approximately equal number of them. Moreover, the combination of computer-based instruction and face-to-face one is beneficial for students, as those who are not self-directed learners are likely to face difficulties when studying online (Exploring the pros and cons, 2013).
It cannot be denied that the opportunities available within the framework of online education are rather limited, which influences the quality of education. Adding more face-to-face classes to an online program is likely to solve the problem for both students and faculty members as some of them are not efficient in the utilization of technology tools. It is even proved that some individuals who fail the online version of a course may be able to pass the face-to-face one (Thompson, Miller, & Franz, 2013). Thus, their chances to complete education successfully increase with the reduction of online classes and their substitution with face-to-face ones.
The drawbacks of online learning are likely to be solved with the help of adding face-to-face elements. It is critical to make sure that the domination of one aspect is not extreme. Otherwise, there will be no advantage of the change. Blended classes with equal hours of online and traditional learning combine the pros of contrasting approaches, which allows to bridge the majority of the gaps they have when are applied separately (Exploring the pros and cons, 2013).
Communication approaches that are commonly used in face-to-face classes should be also maintained in online ones, for example the preference of persuasive behavior or extended explanations (Thompson et al., 2013). In this way, social interactions held as a part of online learning will not be treated as assignments. When online courses are held via life video and other things that are close to face-to-face interactions levels of student satisfaction are higher than when online delivery predominates (Castle & McGuire, 2010).
Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to use such tools at home, as they require special hardware and software, which leads to the conclusion that the implementation of additional face-to-face classes is the best way out. For now, Graduate Online Program has only 10% of face-to-face classes while others are held online. According to the information gathered from several authoritative sources, such combination is not efficient and requires improvement, as only the equal allocation of classes with different educational approaches can bring the expected benefit, including enhanced student performance.
Thus, it is critical to add face-to-face education for graduate students even though this online gratitude program already has some. In this way, the mixture of online and face-to-face education elements will provide the students with a wide scope of advantages that cannot be gained when online approach predominates (Means et al., 2010).
Castle, S., & McGuire, C. (2010). An analysis of student self-assessment of online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments. International Education Studies, 3(3), 36-40.
Exploring the pros and cons of online, hybrid, and face-to-face class formats. (2013). Web.
Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2010). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Web.
Shi, N., Du, C., Jiang, X., & Saab, H. (2011). Online versus face to face college courses. MBA Student Scholarship, 5(1), 1-12.
Thompson, N., Miller, N., & Franz, D. (2013). Comparing online and face-to-face learning experiences for non-traditional students. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 14(4), 233-251,255.