Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Incorporating the Hybrid Learning Model into Minority Education at a Historically Black University

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

Incorporating the Hybrid Learning Model into Minority Education at a Historically Black University

Article excerpt

Background

In 2005, the regents of the University System of Maryland instituted a policy in 2005 that all students enrolling in a Maryland State University as of the fall of 2007 take on average 12 of their credits through out-of-classroom experiences and other nontraditional means. The definition of out-of-classroom experiences includes: e-learning, internships, student teaching, and a host of other activities.

Founded in 1886, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is a historically black, 1890 land grant institution and a member of the thirteen-campus University System of the State of Maryland. The student body is approximately 3,700, with 10% of the enrollment representing graduate students. UMES is located in a rural region and is the most affordable four-year institution of higher education in the state. With the institution's inexpensive tuition and minimal enrollment criteria, the university attracts a large number of students from a lower socio-economic background than is found in colleges and universities across the state. The Department of Business Management and Accounting is one of the largest departments on campus. The department has approximately 420 majors, offering programs that include Business Management, Marketing, Accounting, and Business Education. The Department of Business was chosen because of its size and adequate socio-economic representation of the UMES student body. Additionally, a historically black institution was chosen due to the lack of substantial research that focused specifically on the perceptions of African American college students with respect to e-learning.

WebCt has been adopted as the course management system of choice by the University System of Maryland. UMES began integrating WebCt into their curriculum in 2001. Currently, UMES offers a large number of web-enhanced courses, a few dozen of hybrid courses, and a handful of fully online courses.

Literature Review

The higher-education classroom has undergone radical reformations in the last decade as a result of technological development, causing academicians across the globe to recognize the importance of technology in higher learning. Technology has illustrated that the classroom does not need to be the nucleus of learning, as networked multimedia are able to extend the teaching and learning experience (McClintock, 1999).

Course websites have proved to be an effective means of delivering learning materials, with students responding positively to the quality resources they make available. Wernet, Olliges, and Delicath (2000), who surveyed students who used WebCT in a social work course, found that all of the respondents considered the online course materials beneficial to their overall learning experiences.

The movement from the traditional classroom to web-enabled learning has been explained as a move from a behaviorist methodology to a constructivist one (Lewis, MacEntee, DeLaCruz, Englander, Jeffrey, Takach, Wilson, & Woodall, 2005). Koohang and Harman (2005) assert that e-learning by its very nature is rooted in constructivist ideology, where knowledge acquisition is a self-directed activity that is facilitated by an instructor. They draw correlations between elements inherent in both constructivism and e-learning including: collaboration, social discourse, problem solving, exploration, anchored instruction, critical thinking, the revisiting of information in multiple perspectives and representations, intellectual discourse, knowledge construction, and scaffolding.

Much of the instructional-technology-based research that has been conducted in the past decade focused on the examination of fully online learning experiences. Significantly less attention has been paid to the blended, or hybrid, learning format. Hybrid courses blend face-to-face interaction with online learning and customarily involve the delivery of curricular materials, access to resources, submission of assignments, and online discussions that may be asynchronous or synchronous in nature. …

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