Does a Learning Experience or University Ranking affect Hybrid Courses?

Jun 22, 2020Blog, course evaluation, e-learning0 comments

What is a Blended/ Hybrid Course?

  • Proportion of Content delivered Online: 30 – 79% 
  • Definition: Course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. A substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically uses online discussions, and typically has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings

(Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States, conducted by I. Elaine Allen, Jeff Seaman, Ph.D. (2014).

It is a new way to encourage self-study and research among students and cut down financial pressures on institutions.


Alternating old pillars

In the previous article ‘Why video conference is not enough for moving class online’, I present an idea of having proper online courses for higher education. Many readers agree with me though some are doubting the productivities of mere online courses to traditional classrooms. In fact, many top leading HEIs that have already built an online platform for themselves, however, the scope of learning restricts to summer programs, distance-learning, or fresh year only. But the sweepy pandemic has changed the habitual mindset of many folks towards a blended/ hybrid curriculum (that similarity to strategies of world-class universities), especially since the dramatic surge of MOOC amid COVID-19. Online courses are now in the spotlight of preferences. In this article, let’s find out what is more valuable in blended/ hybrid courses: learning experience or university ranking?


Benefits of hybrid courses

Before starting the debation, let’s go over quickly the reanimation of the world’s biggest MOOCs during the last March and April: Coursera, in the latest Conference Partner 2020, acclaiming their new users increased 5 million post-COVID, and Udemy has increased to 10 million traffic. The outburst care for Coursera for Campus expressed in 415,000+ students and 6,600+ unique institutions. They love to learn courses released by famous universities such as Harvard, MIT, John Hopkins, or Yale as well as other leading universities such as Toronto, Columbia, or big data like Google is irresistible. 

MOOCs entrepreneurs really know how to attract learners by partnering with industries, universities around the world. But even so, a course with normal cost (from $200 to $20 after discount) can never provide with academic approach from the basement to peak like online courses from the universities. 

The market now values a hybrid curriculum from higher education as much as campus than to 4 qualities

✔️Less price

(lower than barely campus)

✔️ IT advances integration:

(multimedia-based learning + online discussion board)


(not depend on locations, and learn at students’ leisures)

✔️ Qualifications:

(Same syllabus, same diplomas)

Remarkably, hybrid/ blended is the choice for many institutions for the future. It reduces the high price that puts every graduate student in a mortgage for decades laters. Moreover, unnecessary peer, exam burdens, and other shortcomings are removed, allow them to enjoy their own education at their speed. Self – study and research is emphasized, while instructors would not play the role of a bandmaster but rather in the right position of a mentor.


What is the key factor for students to register a hybrid course? If university ranking were the beginning, learning experience would be the close. 

Needless to say, diplomas and qualifications are the most crucial expectations of almost students when they enroll to higher education. Whether to come close to being a scholar or know how to work, the final certification is very important.

University ranking is helpful in the spec of finding a good salary job for internship and post-graduation, when learning experience (LX) is meant to satisfy the students, the objectives- and the why courses were born. Contradictory to what people might think, the university well-ranked only ranks at third place, give sit to the winner – teaching quality, and 1st runner: scholarship according to timeshighereducation

Reasons behind registration decision

Reasons behind registration decision


University ranking 

 It continues to the point to become a traditional belief that good rank means good synthetic. To cut into pieces, university ranking is evaluated by different assessments, accredited by different reference systems. Take the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings standards for example. It is a respected university ranking list compiled in collaboration with Times Higher Education and partnering with Thomson Reuters: 

Academic Reputation 40% is the highest weighting of all metrics, collates reputed expert of 100,000 individuals in higher education
Employer Reputation 10% based on almost 50,000 responses to QS Employer Survey, and asks employers to identify those institutions from which they source the most competent, innovative, effective graduates
Faculty/Student Ratio 20% a proxy metric used to assess the teaching quality 
Citations per faculty 20% the total number of citations received by all papers produced by an institution across a five-year period
International Faculty Ratio 5% demonstrates an ability to attract faculty and students from across the world, which in turn suggests that it possesses a strong international brand, and encourages multinational environment. 
International Student Ratio 5%

As we can see from the detailed metrics, some criteria that actually do not serve directly to the quality of education that HEIs provide. Students have the choice to decide what’s most important. Some institutions are fallen down from top because of the decline of international student quantities as borders closure during COVID. Some have a higher ratio and climb on top also does not equal to what students are looking for. As long as students know this, that the university rankings do not interfere too much on their registration. Instead, subject ranking and learning experience matters.

Learning experience

Learning experiences and the quality of academic knowledge delivery can be sought nowhere else but only at higher education. Essentially, learning experience must be focused more than university rankings. In Hybrid/ Blended Courses, it’s even more crucial. Why? Remembering the domination of Apple? Take its users as the core, Jobs said “Understanding users helps you build empathy for the people you are designing for. So the critical first step in development is to understand your users and what they want to do with the technology”. If you take LX as top quality, you are on the right track with Apple. 


photo from Unsplash

For learners, they might not notice all the components in university ranking metrics or how sophisticated content in each lesson, but when they frontally experience the designed units, LX is the easiest to be seen for a learner to evaluate a course and pronto ‘feel’ about the course to rate the course good or bad. Even knowing LX governs the decision and psychology of the students, there are available courses are built with little regard to learners’ experience. Here are the main reasons: 

There is an IT barrier

IT illiteracy is distinguished among students’ segment. Some feel very hard in controlling their courses, and digital materials, they simply do not know how to operate that. This is an investment quest for departments and universities to build a large visitor’s accessible platform, and friendly user experience LMS, and easy for everyone. 

IT support is considered vital. Unless providing enough instructions, on-time performances, hybrid courses are totally paralyzed. 

University must accumulate their effort in retaining a well operated IT/internet infrastructure. There must be more attention paid for IT and technology support. 

There is a lack of engagement

Interaction in the cyber environment is never a worry, it even takes place stronger and hotter than the real world. ID (Instructional designers)/ EC (Educational consultants) don’t have to stay up the night thinking of propagandizing for online discussion boards.  

But then to the educational environment, the syllabus itself, merely text or pictures/ illustrations are never enough to capture students’ attention in a long period. There have been may dropouts and quitters always blame it’s boring and exhausted.

There is a big need for multimedia-based learning.

Firstly to simplify and well communicate compound theories to students with non-face-to-face approach. Secondly, a need to present knowledge to different intelligence/ various ways of perceptions. Worry not, because animation is a great teaching medium, as it simplifies and visualizes complex notions and facts, and as a combination of music, sounds, pictures, voice-over, motions and a plot, it perfectly matches to ‘imprison’ to motivation to fully accomplish the courses of learners. Read to find out why: 

or skim our eBooks to have clear insights:


Final Words

To wrap up, there is no fool or excuse for poorly designed courses. There would be a time, nearly 3 to 5 years from now on that university globally attempt to be at the same line with emulated cutting edge curriculums and top-notch professors. To that point, LX is where ‘actually’ ranks the university quality. Students would not be fooled by outward conditions but to the heart of education: their own Learning Experience in their most precious time. Sooner or later, the better LX an HEI owns, the higher enrollment rates it will get. 

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