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Editorial: UTA should bring back more hybrid options for students

As campus life returns in person, most professors have brought their classes back on campus, mostly discontinuing either fully virtual instructions or hybrid courses — an option that’s been available to students since 2020 due to COVID-19. 

The Shorthorn Editorial Board believes UTA should continue to offer hybrid classes across all colleges, allowing students a more flexible learning option and cutting down on students’ commute frequency. While much of the country appears to be moving on from the pandemic, as public health measures have relaxed over time, preventing community spread of COVID-19 was not the only benefit of hybrid classes, despite being the intention when first set forth.

A potential benefit of increasing the number of hybrid courses is providing students the opportunity to stagger the days they have to come to campus.

UTA has a large commuter population, and with that comes challenges. Earlier in the semester, many students expressed frustration trying to find parking on campus. They were, at times, late to class despite arriving well before it started. 

Offering hybrid classes, where students can reduce the number of days they have to drive to campus, may help alleviate this problem.

The hybrid modalities would also benefit commuters by cutting gas costs and offering additional time to study or complete assignments, given they would have fewer obligations on campus.

Additionally, hybrid classes often allow professors to record lectures as a teaching method, which could benefit the learning and comprehension style of many students who can rewatch and review lectures as often as they need.

Many classes already do this, but hybrid modalities would increase its prevalence across all campus majors.

More hybrid classes would also give more options to students who like the flexibility of hybrid courses. Forty-nine percent of students prefer a hybrid course format, according to a 2022 survey by Barnes & Noble College. 

While that’s not an overwhelming majority, the survey still demonstrates a significant portion of students could benefit from increased hybrid options. 

While many students like hybrid classes, it’s important to acknowledge there are students and professors who do not. Therefore, courses with multiple sections should offer a variety of modalities, including online, hybrid and in-person, so students and faculty who don’t like hybrid options have a wide array of classes they can enroll in or teach.

A downside to hybrid courses is the distance learning fees associated with online and hybrid courses, which are $25 per credit hour. While these fees help UTA pay for hosting online courses, the university should consider lowering fees for low-income students to help them afford the costs. 

While some may say college students traditionally experience in-person instruction and we should move on from pandemic practices, it’s important to recognize UTA’s large commuter population and that students have different learning styles and preferences. The Shorthorn Editorial Board believes UTA should offering a greater number of hybrid to accommodate the needs of its students.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Hannah Ezell; editor-in-chief Dang Le; news editor Steven Shaw; Jonathan Perriello, life and entertainment editor; design editor Claudia Humphrey; news reporters José Romero and Ayesha Shaji. 

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