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Hybrid & Online Courses


Photo: UH Relations

Some ELI courses are offered in a hybrid or online format, which allows students greater flexibility than a traditional face-to-face class. Read this page for more information about whether a hybrid or online course is right for you.

What is a hybrid course?

A hybrid class combines face-to-face classroom learning with computer-assisted online learning. At the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s English Language Institute (ELI), time in a hybrid course is divided between classroom learning activities and online classroom (Laulima) participation. Students benefit from the quality instruction delivered through different modes and the flexibility of both the online and classroom learning environments through independent and collaborative work.

What is an online course?

An online course is based around computer-assisted learning in an online environment. In an ELI online course, class learning activities will be ALL online, conducted via Laulima and possibly other web space, which greatly reduces the amount of time spent in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. However, students do need to have a face-to-face orientation meeting with the instructor at the beginning of the semester, and probably several more throughout the semester, depending on students’ specific situation. Also, students should expect both independent and collaborative work in an ELI online course.

The academic rigor and workload in both hybrid and online classes is SIMILAR to that of a traditional face-to-face class.

Comparing Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and Online ELI Courses




In all three types of courses you should expect:

  • Major products
  • Independent work
  • Group work
  • Average of 6-9 hours of weekly work
In all three types of courses you should expect:

  • Learning new software (Laulima, podcasts, etc.)
  • Credit/No Credit grade with a minimum of 75% for a passing grade
  • Deadlines
  • Feedback from the instructor.

In a face-to-face class, you can expect immediate feedback from the instructor. In face-to-face and hybrid classes, you are expected to attend classroom sessions.

  • In a FACE-TO-FACE class, you are expected to participate in all class meetings and in occasional online discussions 1-3 times per week (depending on the course and the instructor).
  • In a HYBRID class, you are expected to participate in online discussion 3-5 times per week, with half participation online and half in face-to-face class.
  • In an ONLINE class, you will have 1 or 2 meetings of in-person orientation and the rest of your participation will be online. You are expected to participate online 5-7 times per week.

What characteristics must a learner have to successfully complete a hybrid/online course in ELI?

  • Motivation
  • Self-discipline
  • Good organizational skills
  • Good time management skills
  • Willingness to communicate
  • Willingness to collaborate
  • Ability to work independently
  • Patience with technology

Note: Ideally, you should have all these characteristics above in order to successfully complete a hybrid/online course in ELI. However, if you do not have all these characteristics but are willing and determined to foster them, you are welcome to join us too. If you are still in doubt, please contact Priscilla Faucette (

Is Online Learning Right for You?

Many students taking online or hybrid courses say that it feels like there is a lot more “homework”. This is because online courses do not have a regular meeting time — all the time devoted to the course is done online. A typical classroom-based ELI course involves 3 hours per week in the classroom, plus 3-6 hours of homework each week. An online course has a total of 6-9 hours of work to do each week. Since the online courses have no “class” time, it feels as if there is more homework, but in fact, the total time is approximately the same.

  • Online sections are NOT easier than in-class sections. They are designed to be equivalent courses, and are equally difficult (and for some people, they may actually be more difficult, because there is no opportunity for face-to-face contact with the teacher and other students.)
  • You need regular access to a computer that has strong internet capabilities (and, depending on the course, you may be required to have access to a computer that has additional equipment, such as a web camera, or specific applications, such as a RealPlayer). If you do not have regular access to a computer with these capabilities, you may not be able to take the online section.
  • You need to be very good at using computers, including:
    • You should be quite skilled at using the world wide web for searching and other purposes
    • You should be fairly fast and accurate at typing.
  • You should be familiar with navigating websites and using common features of course websites, such as a “digital drop box” to submit homework assignments.
  • You should be familiar with downloading and installing necessary equipment and applications.
  • You should be good at reading in English, online. All the instructions and some of the materials will be in written form online, so if you are a slow reader, or have difficulty with reading online, you may want to think about whether or not an online section is really right for you.
  • You should be comfortable and familiar with appropriate norms for email and discussion board communication (that is, appropriate levels of politeness for these forms of academic communication)
  • Online sections require a higher degree of independence and self-discipline, as well as excellent time-management skills.
  • You should be the type of person who can learn easily on your own — that is, if you are the type of person who learns much better through classroom discussion and face-to-face interaction, you would be more successful (and, most likely, happier) taking an in-class section rather than an online section.
  • Each ELI online section has an instructor who is available to guide and assist you. If you are having difficulty, the instructors are happy to help wherever they can. However, please keep in mind that the instructor’s main job is to teach the course, not to help students get used to the special requirements of online learning, so it is important to learn quickly how to “do things” online.