Blended Courses Demystified

Posted on October 25,2011 by jgarciamspp

I made it through my finals!

"Finals in October?" you ask. "Aren't finals usually in December?"

While it is typical for students to spend the last few days of November/first few days of December cramming for their finals I ended up doing it in mid-October. This is a direct result of me taking blended courses. Although I mentioned blended courses in a previous post I did not really go into the logistics. I feel like now would be a good time to do that. Because I found the blended system a bit confusing as an incoming student I figured that I would do you a favor and bestow my newly acquired knowledge upon you.

As you probably remember from your undergrad days a full-time student takes 4+ courses (12+ credit hours). At MSPP a full-time student in their first semester also takes 4 core classes but they also participate in a practicum/seminar. When you look at your course schedule it looks like you have 6 classes. Class 1-4 are the core/required courses while the 5th "class" is your time spent at your practicum and the 6th being the seminar, the course that accompanies your practicum.

Confused yet? Don't be. I promise it all makes sense. Even if you have taken an online or hybrid course before you might want to pay attention. There is something in here for everyone. :-)

So, back to the blended courses... My schedule basically goes like this: All year long I go to my practicum and attend my seminar (classes 5 and 6). However, during the 1st 7 weeks of school I take 2 classes online (classes 1 and 2). During those 7 weeks there are 2 Weekends in Residence, one for each class. The WIR is when you spend the entire weekend (in person) with the professor and your classmates. The 7 weeks end with final exams. Joy! Then you immediately begin your next set of classes (classes 3 and 4). They are run the same way. You have 7 weeks, 2 WIRs, and your finals. --- I also forgot to mention that you do meet your professors before each class begins. You have a class meeting at the start of each quarter. This is not like in undergrad where you never meet or see your professor unless you end up tracking them down during their office hours. ---

I was horrified when I saw my schedule for the first time. I didn't think I would be able to keep up and still be a fully functioning human being by the end of the first year. But, to tell you the truth, it really isn't that bad. As long as you do your work, the readings, and show up to the WIRs you are good to go. I think for me the hardest part was that it was a completely new way of being involved in school. If you are used to being on campus all the time, sitting in a classroom all the time, "hanging out" in the library all the time this can seem like a big change. Truthfully, once you get the hang of it, the whole thing just seems to make sense.

I can now say that I have successfully completed my 1st 2 courses and have started on the next 2. I'm feelin' good.

I also hope this post was helpful... if not mildly amusing. :-)

-J