The Hybrid Model: Providing Options for a Small Community College

The Hybrid Model: Providing Options for a Small Community College

William David Fell (Carroll Community College, USA) and Siobhan Wright (Carroll Community College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6252-8.ch010

Abstract

This chapter is a case study of Carroll Community College, a small rural community college, and its plan to develop a viable travel program by using a hybrid model. This model includes three distinct cohorts: study abroad students (students who travel and take an associated credit course), lifelong learning students (travelers who take a continuing education course to prepare for the travel experience), and educational tourists (travelers who do not take an associated course). By allowing not only study abroad students but also lifelong learners (often called continuing education students) to participate in an international travel program, Carroll's mission is addressed. This chapter is a case study of how and why Carroll implemented the hybrid model as an example for other small community colleges that might wish to achieve similar results.
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Introduction

Nestled in the rolling hills of northern Maryland, Carroll Community College seems an unlikely locale for a vibrant educational travel program. One of the smallest community colleges in the state, Carroll’s full-time students (FTE) number fewer than 3,000 (Carroll Community College, 2017, p. 2), and most are drawn from family farms, small towns, and distant suburbs.

Yet in the spring of 2017, the college took 39 participants on a 10-day travel program to Ireland. The program filled up six weeks prior to the registration deadline and there was a waiting list that was never exhausted. Indeed, this scenario has played out not just for the most recent programs to Ireland and Italy, but for the past several years as the college has taken between 26 and 39 participants in the past four years to England, France, Italy, and Ireland—and before that, to many other European countries, dating back to 1992.

So how does a small rural community college manage to develop a viable travel program? One answer is by using a hybrid model, one that includes three distinct cohorts:

  • Study abroad students (students who travel and take an associated credit course)

  • Lifelong learning students (travelers who take a continuing education course to prepare for the travel experience)

  • Educational tourists (travelers who do not take an associated for-credit course).

This model is in keeping with Carroll’s mission, which is to provide “active learn[ing]” experiences for all students, both traditional and lifelong learners; to prepare them “for an increasingly diverse and changing world”; and to provide them with opportunities for “personal and cultural enrichment” (CCC, 2016, p. 4). By allowing not only study abroad students, but also lifelong learners (often called continuing education students) to participate in an international travel program, this mission is more than addressed. For all travelers, the college offers both academic (or credit) and continuing education (non-credit) courses to deepen its travelers’ educational experiences abroad, although taking a course is not a requirement for any traveler. To be clear, only the first type of participant—the study abroad student—receives academic credit for an associated travel course, which transpires over an entire semester and which includes but is not limited to a ten-day educational travel experience. This component of the hybrid program allows students “to get a toe wet” (Woolf, 2007, p. 497) in education abroad. For Carroll community college, this study abroad opportunity is made possible by the participants in the other two cohorts, whose inclusion makes the program affordable and, thus, viable.

This chapter is a case study of how and why Carroll implemented the hybrid model as an example for other small community colleges that might wish to achieve similar results. As Malveaux (2016) notes, the motivation to study abroad among today’s students is “a desire to travel” and “a desire to experience a new culture” (p. 2), which are the same motivations that underlie successful educational tourism programs.

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Background: Definition Of Terms

The following terms are used in this chapter to describe the different types of travel program participants included in the hybrid model:

  • Study abroad student describes a participant in “formal educational programs that occur outside the participant’s home country” and for “which students receive degree credits” from an associated travel course (Zhang, 2011, p. 182-183).

  • Lifelong learner describes a participant in an international travel program who takes a non-credit continuing education course to prepare for the travel experience—because he or she is “inspired by personal development activities that stimulate creativity, broaden knowledge, expand perspectives, and support healthy living” (CCC, 2016, p. 159).

  • Educational tourist describes a participant in an international travel program who may or may not be a credit-earning student, one who takes neither an academic course nor a continuing education course to enhance their travel experience, but one whose participation constitutes “an intentional, structured, in situ learning experience” (Pitman, Broomhall, McEwan, & Majocha, 2010, p. 226)

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