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August 13, 2021

Hybrid Semesters Can Inspire Students to Innovate Now and in Their Careers

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Nearly all students today are digital natives. For many, studying or socializing in online spaces is more natural than commuting to a campus. As these digital shifts continue, colleges are challenged to design semesters that fit with students’ lives.

You’re not just checking off boxes—attendance, reading or labs, an exam; you’re joining your students where they are, so they can truly learn. 

By teaching in a digital or virtual environment, you’re showing them something even more important: how to think in flexible terms, unsilo the multiple parts of their lives, and carry those skills forward into their careers. 

Preparing students for the real world, even as it moves into extended realities, is vital to your success as a professor or administrator. Work these opportunities into your next school year to guide a new class of leaders.

Thinking Big Picture

Remote college classes can help students balance family, early career responsibilities, and other priorities. This alone gives them access to classes they might not otherwise be able to take. 

But, beyond that, being able to manage a full life of their own choosing teaches them how to work harmoniously across objectives. 

You’re already solving a problem many large organizations face—siloing. This is when departments become so focused on their own objectives that they lose sight of the work goals and achievements. Final work products are harder to accomplish and lose some of the value that could have been easily integrated with a little communication. 

The way to prepare students for integrated, big-picture thinking is pretty easy. You’re already starting your semester with a focus on work-life balance. Plus, the engagement of a virtual classroom provides additional support over a simple video class. 

Implement a few concepts upfront with each class:

  • Encourage students to discuss how their school work impacts the rest of their lives. Ask them to compare physical and virtual classrooms.
  • Request feedback and show them how you’re working it into the rest of the semester. How can you strike the right balance of hybridization?
  • Make time throughout the semester to explore your virtual campus. Focus on how different virtual or physical environments inspire everyone differently. 
  • Include virtual presentation tools in lessons or when students present, so they can understand how to communicate objectives with larger groups.
  • Invite outside guests to join you on your virtual campus. Students can include their input on who to invite, too.

Fostering Innovation in Class

As you begin to find a rhythm with your students, draw out their innovative sides. 

Innovation skills translate directly into value in the workforce. Consider how your lesson plans allow for evolution, what translates beyond campus, and what’s at the cutting edge of your industry in a non-academic setting. 

Configure virtual classrooms or auditoriums to reflect an on-the-job setting. Ask students what they’d do to solve real world problems or improve specific scenarios.

Incorporate private-volume spaces and let students workshop problems, just like they would at work.  

By providing frameworks that mirror the rest of their lives, you’ll soon find them thinking outside the box and across multiple platforms. 

For more on how to create remote and hybrid university experiences, follow Virbela on LinkedIn or reach out to sales@virbela.com.

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