Two professors implemented a hybrid pilot program for college preparatory English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. The development and integration of ESL hybrid courses presented pedagogical and technological obstacles that included computer access, learner attitudes and the need to develop online learner skills (computer skills, time management practice, a disciplined dedication to be online, and practice in meeting deadlines). Ward labeled the pilot courses “Handheld Hybrids” to describe the style and range of flexibility in the courses to accommodate students with little to no familiarity with computers or computer-based instruction. The handheld approach allowed for gradual instruction in computer-based coursework, which helped mitigate intimidation and foster student empowerment. Besides freeing adult students to care for their family and work needs, the hybrid courses also developed online learning skills students would need in order to successfully undertake other hybrid and distance education courses in the future.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Culture: Culture is a social construction of values and power relations—used in this study to discuss the power involved in computer literacy for speakers of English as a second language.
Handheld Hybrid: A handheld hybrid is used in this study to represent a scaffold approach to online learning skills and attitude that empowers students to take online academic programs that they might not have taken due to intimidation and limitations in skills and access to online coursework.
Hybrid Course: A hybrid course is a Web-enhanced course that is from 15% to 49% online.
Computer Illiteracy: In this study, computer illiteracy is the absence of computer skills that are related to academic empowerment to take courses.
Identity: In this study, student identity is related to the skills and cultural knowledge that are evident in college learning environments. This includes computer literacy.
Self-Directed Learning (SDL): SDL is based on making independent and informed decisions in order to accomplish a specific learning objective.
Computer Literacy: In this study, computer literacy is the ability to participate in online coursework. It is a requirement of membership in learning online communities.
CALL: CALL is computer assisted language learning.