A hybrid Online Weather course using archive files
The course homepage, http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/sladoch/geog170.htm, shows links to archived Online Weather assignments, the Datastreme Atmosphere homepage, the class syllabus, other useful weather links, and the instructor's webpage. Because of space limitations, previously posted assignments are removed, although they remain active for several weeks. Included among the assignments are additional online exercises such as a Hurricane Katrina activity. Popular and educational field trips to the local National Weather Service Forecast Office compliment the course. Occasionally, NWS forecasters visit the classroom.
The advantages of our hybrid course, compared to the traditional lecture format means fewer on-campus hours for our mostly commuting, full-time working students. Increased computer literacy makes students more comfortable with online courses, as this mode of instruction becomes more common on our campus. However, the in-person laboratory does provide benefits. The CSULA student population consists mostly minority students, many requiring remedial math, English or both. Face-to-face meetings allow students to finish assignments or get extra help. Students are also encouraged to work with partners or groups, which adds a social component to the mainly online course. Anecdotically, student performances are better in the hybrid course than in the traditional course. Student evaluations since 2006 showed that a majority found the instructor's overall teaching ability at either excellent or very good. Similarly, a majority of students would recommend the instructor to others. Several students stated that they liked the course online as it allowed more time for studying class materials and reading the textbook. Course enrollments have increased from about 20 in 2006 to approximately 40 today.