Embracing Adventure “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” ~~Hellen Keller

My First Hybrid (Online & Onsite) Class

Most of the classes for the master’s degree I’m pursuing in counseling psychology are distance education, but some of them are required to be taken as hybrid classes. In these classes, most of the class takes place online, but there are three weekends where we meet onsite from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. The night before my first onsite class, Principles and Philosophy of Counseling, which was in the first session for Spring 2012, I was kind of dreading that I wouldn’t get to sleep in on the weekend. My husband told me I wouldn’t want to do it when I got up, but once I got to class I would be glad I did because it would be more productive than anything else I could be doing that day because I would be bettering myself.

He turned out to be right. I hated getting up especially since I had gotten to bed late and had been woken up an hour before I was supposed to be. But class turned out to be engaging. I got to meet some nice people, and toward the end we got to role play counseling. We paired off and took turns as the client and counselor. The exercise was awkward at first, especially when the professor was standing right next to me, but it got easier as our time went on, both as the “therapist” and as the “client”. When asked to pick a word to describe my feeling at the moment at the end of class, I picked relieved.

At one point, the professor said, “The person you are at the beginning of the program is not the same person you’ll be at the end of the program”. I think that will be true as there was already much I learned about myself in the few classes I had taken at that point, both from reading the textbooks and from participating in exercises and assignments. In that way, my husband’s comment about bettering myself applied not just to getting an education but to personal growth.

12 2-9 art therapy

My art therapy picture. The main image is supposed to be a guitar, with some notes next to it. The black thing is my gig bag and the fleck is the zipper that had just popped off it. The blue thing is a pick. And now you see why drawing wasn’t a major focus of my art minor.

During the second weekend, I was skeptical when the professor got out paper and crayons and said we were going to draw a picture and talk in our “session” from the point of view of something in the picture, and what would happen would be that we’d actually end up describing ourselves. I picked something I didn’t think was going to relate much to me and even started off with some kind of surface level things that were more about the picture than me. But my “counselor” managed to ask a couple questions that “brought me to now” (which was good as we were practicing using Gestalt techniques) and then I *was* talking about myself and about things that had been weighing on me. We didn’t use the picture a whole lot after that, but it was a great way to get started.

That was actually the best “session” I had as the “client” in that class, and I think my session with my “client” was one of the best I’ve done as a counselor. Hurray for art therapy. It is a pity I hear we’re not exposed to it much in any other classes in this program as it was pretty cool from both seats.  I’m glad I at least had the chance to participate in it during the onsite class.

When I first started this program, I had anticipated that I was only going to do the hybrid classes that were required (this class, Counseling Theory and Practice, and Group Counseling). But after this class I decided to take others that were available as hybrids whenever I had the opportunity. I have since done Family Counseling and Marriage and Couples Counseling, though neither are required to be hybrid (and the latter is actually an elective). Both of those only required two weekends onsite. Unfortunately, now that the program is in the process of ending (more on that later) it looks like the only hybrids I’ll have left will be the two others that are required, so I’ll just have to make the most of them.

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2 Thoughts on “My First Hybrid (Online & Onsite) Class

  1. Did you take those classes with Prof Trocchio by any chance? I remember taking a few classes with him as an undergrad, also hybrid and on the weekends. I actually prefer face-to-face education over online teaching but hybrid is def a good mix of both. I also love how you get to meet the people you’ve been communicating with online and put a face to the name. Well, seems like you enjoyed it, too. 🙂

    • I took a few undergraduate classes through UMUC (which I will actually be posting about pretty soon) but I haven’t had that professor. I think it depends on the class. I have had some classes that were just horrendous to see through face to face three times a week, but that was usually because there wasn’t information being added beyond what was in the book. I like the online classes for being able to go my own pace and not having to sit through lectures of what I’ve already read, but interaction online can be a bit superficial. I do like the hybrids being able to put faces to names as well as being able to learn some things that wouldn’t translate well online.

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