What are the Advantages of a Hybrid Master’s Program?

Khristina Russell
Khristina Russell
High school instructional coach; Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership from Thomas University, GA
Young woman working on a laptop sitting outside.

What is a Hybrid Master’s Program?

If I was writing this article a year ago today, the idea of what a hybrid program is like would seem much more foreign and unfamiliar. But it is 2020 and life is fashioned much differently with the presence of COVID-19. For my cohort-mates and myself, a hybrid program is a way to navigate through earning an advanced degree.

It is a means and an opportunity to explore a different avenue of work/life balance. It means a way to obtain advancement while not having to spend hours trapped in a classroom having to constantly rearrange life for our families and extra-curricular activities. It also means an opportunity to still network, establish new connections, and interact regularly and academically with new people.

Most importantly, it is an opportunity to grow and learn in a manner that is by its very nature flexible. My hybrid program was guided by faculty and staff that understood the demands of working adults in education because many of them are also full-time K-12 educators. Our professors often finish up their full work days in elementary, middle, and high schools before they head to work with us. That natural empathy that they carry in identifying with us as working professionals aligns with the still high expectations creating an ideal learning environment.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Program

The truest benefit of a hybrid program is that almost (if not) all of the professors were K-12 educators. Earning this degree was not simple. It was intensive, time consuming, and required a great deal of research and reflection. However, having discussions with other educators that were able to make ALL class content relevant and timely not only helped to make the information easier to retain, but also made it so much more meaningful.

Another benefit is that a lot of classes are offered in both formats. Working online seems convenient, but getting back into the swing of things isn’t as simple as riding a bike. Re-learning how to learn, adjust to academic rigor, retain and apply new information, along with organizational skills, technology, and other basic nuances requires some time. Having a true hybrid course that meets face to face part of the time and online the other part of the time helps to establish a routine and gives the mind a chance to prime itself for the new endeavor.

Ways to Make the Most Out of Your In-Person Classes

If I’m completely honest, the in-person classes were my favorite. There are three things that are vital in order to truly maximize the in-person experience.

  • Consider the reality that time truly is of the essence. It is important to know where your class is going to meet, what the parking situation is like, and the traffic patterns around that area. Although the professors are likely going to be understanding, you do not want to be tardy when classes meet so infrequently.
  • Bring whatever you need to be most comfortable. That may mean a snack, dinner, a change of clothes, etc. After a long work day, know yourself and your weaknesses; provide for yourself whatever you need in order to be academically secure.
  • Make friends. My cohort and I created a group chat. We supported each other ALL THE WAY THROUGH! None of us worked in the same building and two even worked in different counties. We had representatives from every level and subject area. Without their support, this process would have lacked a great deal of comfort and support. Teamwork makes the dream work is not just a cliche when it comes to us. Together we were able to make a dream a reality. Even though our program is complete, we still communicate regularly and are so glad are program brought us together.

Importance of Time Management for Online Classes

At first instinct, it seems as if online classes would be the simplest to plan because it generates the idea that class can be captured anywhere. That is simply not true. The same care that was required to be prepared for the face-to-face courses is needed for the online classes as well.

As many of my classmates soon realized: you can not have class while driving, you can not have class in a public place, and you can not have class while in another meeting. I’m so grateful that universities carefully select professors that are calculated enough to respectfully let the adult learners know how important it was to make appropriate provisions for all class types. Further, online classes often required an extra step of pre-work to be prepared for class with regards to having copies and other work worked out that work out differently if the class was face to face.

Ready to dive into your next educational journey? Check out our available hybrid programs to get started today!

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