Managing a Blend of Online and Classroom Coursework

A recent survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) found that prospective business school students, regardless of preferred program type, seek programs that offer a combination of online and classroom courses. According to the survey:

• Full-time students want roughly 15 percent of their coursework online;
• Part-time students want 25 percent of their coursework online;
• And online students want 10 percent of their coursework in a classroom.

These findings suggest the value business students place on both the flexibility of online courses as well as the face-to-face interaction with faculty and classmates that comes with classroom learning.

That’s why at Limestone College students who are pursuing a Bachelors of Business Administration degree have the option of taking a combination of classes at any of Limestone’s extended campus locations across South Carolina and online. Additionally, Limestone’s online MBA program offers three residency weekends on-campus in Gaffney, SC with ample opportunity to meet with faculty and network with classmates.

However, managing a mix of online and face-to-face coursework can have its challenges. One issue students face is developing the self-motivation and discipline required to complete their online courses. As students try to adapt to different methods of learning — online and face-to-face — simultaneously, some may recognize a pattern of performing better in one course format versus another.

Similar issues are not uncommon in blended or hybrid courses, where students complete a portion of a single course online, and another portion of that same course in a traditional classroom setting. One of the goals of a blended course is to maximize collaborative and interactive learning activities in the classroom while leveraging online instruction to prepare students for classroom participation. However, as the success of the classroom experience rests significantly on student’s preparation through online learning, motivation and self-discipline are again considerable factors.

A U.S. News article suggests four simple tips to online students struggling with motivation and discipline:
• Make a plan that assigns daily commitment to your studies;
• Check the plan daily to hold yourself accountable and ensure you follow through;
• Look ahead to avoid surprises from major project deadlines;
• And ask for help when you need it from your instructor or peers.