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How does online learning work?
Our academic online courses cover the same material as campus-based courses. Our skilled teachers use the Blackboard Learn™ system to conduct online classes. Some of the technologies used by instructors and students include discussion boards, online videos, podcasts, blogs, and wikis to build an online community of learners. Students participate in online class discussions and complete assignments and projects (with deadlines) just as in a campus-based course. Completing an online course is just as challenging as taking a face-to-face course, but students can contribute to discussions and complete assignments any time of the day or night each week. In return for the flexibility and convenience of online education, students must schedule their study time and take control of their own learning.
MassBay Community College offers a growing selection of credit-bearing, academic online courses for highly motivated and tech-savvy students.
MassBay faculty design and teach our academic online courses. While the catalog descriptions for MassBay online courses are the same as those for our classroom-based courses, the teaching methods used in the two types of courses can be very different. For example, students in an online course may be required to do more reading, project-based work, or online discussion in lieu of attending lectures. Online courses typically require strong computer skills and longer time spent online than classroom-based courses.
What is the difference between an online and a blended/hybrid course?
There are two types of online courses at MassBay: online and blended/hybrid. Most of the blended/hybrid courses are offered in the STEM Division and are listed as “Hybrid” in the Bay Navigator (formerly PeopleSoft) registration system.
- Online: Most online courses at MassBay are fully online. An online course typically requires no seat time on campus although may include an on-campus orientation session or proctored examinations. Online courses are not self-paced. They follow the same semester schedule as classroom-based courses. They include assignment deadlines and course participation requirements. Online courses differ from classroom-based courses in that instruction is conducted entirely online using a variety of technologies. Technologies that students may use in online courses include: discussion boards, multimedia presentations, and Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, ePortfolios).
- Blended/Hybrid: The terms “blended” and “hybrid” are usually used to describe courses in which a portion of seat time is replaced by online instruction. For our purposes, a blended/hybrid course is one in which students have scheduled class times but receive a portion of instruction online and a portion of instruction in the classroom. The proportion of online instruction to classroom instruction may vary from course to course because instructors design hybrid courses based on specific instructional objectives.
Focus on Quality
Faculty at MassBay who teach online receive special training and support to offer their courses in this format. In addition, the College subscribes to the national Quality Matters course design standards, which faculty have at their disposal when developing their fully online or hybrid courses.