Hybrid opinion on hybrid classes

Courtesy Heather Ecobichon

This fall the University of Waterloo, along with other universities across Canada, implemented hybrid classes which saw the return of many more students from across the world to campus. As someone who has been in Waterloo for the majority of the pandemic’s worst phase, I have experienced classes under both the remote and hybrid models. I believe that there are inherent advantages to both models, however, I would personally like to see a complete return to in-person classes soon.
Since hybrid classes were introduced, staff at UW are required to maintain both in-person classes and online classes for those who are unable to make it to in-person lectures. Consequently, there are certain course staff who tend to re-use video lecture materials from previous terms for the online teaching, and provide a more novel learning experience in-person. Logically, this makes sense to avoid spending extra time for lecture administration and focus on evaluation, assessment creation and other things. However, the content tends to become outdated, and in the case of staff changes, I find it preferable to have newer staff deliver a new lecture rather than using that of previous staff.
On the other hand, there are instances where course administration is entirely online. At that point, students end up coming to campus for a few courses only, while others, if not all, remain online. This is particularly inconvenient for students living in other cities, who have to move to Waterloo to take just one or two courses.
The university has also decided to open study areas on campus, which also encourages students to get out of the comfort of their room and be more productive in collective study environments. I believe that this helps encourage students to return to campus despite one or more courses being online.
International students end up having to pay incredulously high fees for online education which is less effective than in-person delivery. Some online courses have in-person tutorials and discussions to supplement the online lectures. This shows that the staff have recognized this to be an important issue that needed to be addressed. Having these hybrid classes, however, creates more work for course staff. Since the pandemic has reached a turning point, classes should be opened to near-full capacity and be made entirely in-person to re-establish the status quo for education.
Ultimately, having hybrid classes seems to be a compromise made in an attempt to go back to pre-pandemic times for education. However, there is a point where it becomes inconvenient for both students and staff and turns counter-productive to the goal of education itself. Therefore, I would like to see a return to in-person education to generate better overall and wholesome growth in students.