Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education

Article excerpt

Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education. Snart JA. Santa Barbara, CA, Praeger, 2010, hardcover, 179 pp, $34.95.

The author of this text, Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education, challenges us as readers (and fellow educators) to question the role of technology in our higher education classrooms. In the self-titled Chapter 1, Early Resistant Adopter of Technology, Snart suggests that we have as much to learn about the "perils and promise" of hybrid or blended learning from technology enthusiasts as we do from the technology skeptics. He encourages this conversation go beyond the classroom and faculty to include all stakeholders in higher education and to identify potential perils while recognizing effective current practice and potential promise as technology and our use of it advances.

In Chapter 2, many of the challenges facing higher education, such as the competition for resources and retention of students, are presented. While these challenges may be addressed through hybrid learning, the author prods the reader to think about the implications that technology-based curricula may have on the nature of the learning experience. Thus, the "perils and promise" must be evaluated from the perspective of all stakeholders (ie, administrators, faculty, students) when determining a course of action. Chapter 3 provides a look at how as a culture we are interacting with each other through the interface of technology. Varied examples from popular media sites clarify how such interactions occur. Chapter 4 transitions the focus of the book and a brief, and somewhat limited, historical perspective of hybrid learning is presented. This chapter closes with some references to how current technologies may continue to evolve. …