by Hult faculuty Katarzyna Bachnik, Pamela Campagna, Tessa Misiaszek, Bob Neer, and Rajendra Shirolé
During the past 18 months, students and teachers around the world have adapted to a new educational paradigm. We recently posted an article addressing the lessons learned from a faculty perspective, now this article will look at how our students have also had to “learn a new way to learn”. And you’ll find some helpful techniques that are proven to work better than others.
Hybrid learning pros and cons
To complicate matters, working in hybrid teams has become a new challenge. Although studying via Zoom might be perceived as a lighter option for student participation (you don’t have to commute to campus, there is perceived “freedom” on the other side of the camera), in many ways it is much tougher (staying focused in front of a monitor, keeping motivated, and being more visible to the professor).
Hybrid learning has two environments, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Our faculty have mastered the hybrid learning approach, and our students have learned as well. We hope that these tips might lead to a more productive, engaging, and efficient hybrid learning experience for you in the future!
Tips for hybrid learning
Whether you are in the classroom or on Zoom:
- All students are treated equally, regardless of the learning modality, in terms of being invited to contribute to class and of being responsible for presenting themselves as serious students. This means that students are expected to show up on time and devote their full attention to the class. If a professor needs to remind a student of basic expectations, they are wasting everybody’s time, not to mention that the student is spoiling their image as a serious student.
- Consider that learning in a hybrid classroom is a fantastic networking opportunity! You will likely have classmates around the globe and can make meaningful connections.
- In a hybrid environment—EVERYTHING is recorded! So please remember to act professionally and understand that the professor and the class can see you at all times.
- Breakout rooms are great opportunities to connect with your fellow classmates! Stay engaged and take advantage of these times to get to know your peers better to create lasting friendships.
- When working in teams, recognize the limitations and opportunities of working on a team across different time zones. For example, if your team is working on a project with a tight deadline, the work could be adjusted so that team members in different time zones are effectively “working around the clock” to achieve a goal.
- Do not be tempted to run on excuses—everyone faces hard times and maybe even challenges with technology. You have chosen this course of study, so make the best of it! Growth mindset rules, and if you face some serious issues, be transparent with a professor, explain your individual situation with them ahead of time, so that you can work together to address any challenges or obstacles.
- Use chat during class (if allowed by your professor) to pose questions and discussion topics to our peers that can move the class conversation forward.
- Consider making short videos or TikToks to explain specific points of a presentation, and then share these with your instructor and other students.
For Zoom students:
- Expectations for student engagement are the same for all students: if you log in to class from the car, a rugby field, or the beach, most likely your professor will remove you from class. Please be sure to find a good workspace to attend class.
- Approach class with the same care (etiquette) as when you attend in person—dress appropriately, be prepared, find a good workspace with good lighting, keep the camera on so the professor and your peers get to know you, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
- Be present. Please be sure to position the camera so that your upper torso and head are in the frame. Remember that the professor and your classmates don’t want to see your ceiling or just the top of your head!
- Geographic distance does not matter in a hybrid classroom. The professor wants to get to know every student, regardless of whether they are physically present or not. Ask questions during class, stay to chat after class. Be sure to keep your camera on during class and reach out to make personal contact with the professor through chat, email, or during office hours. The more engaged you are with the professor, the better they will remember you and be able to support you in the future!
- Attending office hours is easier on Zoom than in person in many ways. Take advantage of this to discuss specific points of interest with your professor.
- Consider using matching Zoom backgrounds for team presentations (if your computer has the capability). This will give your team a more coordinated look and let other students know who is on the team.
- Although you may be online, remember you are still in class and your participation in learning is critical both to you and for your peers who are in class and online.
- If your internet service is erratic at your location, be sure to let your professor know of this problem. For example, you may need to request permission to turn off your video and have only the audio available. If this happens, remember that you are still expected to engage in the class.
- Come prepared to class as you would if you were in class so you can contribute as you would in an in-person session.
For in-class students:
- Take the time to understand the Zoom environment and be ready to join Zoom quickly, for the sake of in-class exercises where you may be working with classmates who are online.
- Having a set of headphones could come in handy to hear your teammates clearly amidst the noise in the classroom.
- Consider that those who are not in-class may have to separate from their work on a team (or in class) from the distractions in their current environment.
- Sometimes it’s difficult to make connections and get your message across with others through Zoom—it can get lost in translation, especially when dealing with different cultures with different communication styles. Take the time to listen to and understand one another.
- Although some of your peers may be online, they are an inherent part of the class.
- Collegiality (citizenship) goes a long way in supporting learning: it supports you and your classmates wherever they might be and more significantly, it supports your professor in delivering an effective learning experience for all students.
Feel free to connect with any of us to continue the conversation about hybrid learning in an international classroom.