Hybrid is defined as using a combination of distance technology learning and face-to-face teaching. The model used contact via available relevant technology (from slow scan video in the 1970s, digital voice and video conference calls in the 1980s, web-based text and video in the 90s and 3-D in the past decade). It also used stone and glass classroom bookends of class start-up and closing. Graduation was an option of in person or by distance.
While some classes may be taught purely at a distance; the very high cost and challenges of many professional degree classes would seem to demand a mix of more face-to-face networking through direct human interaction. I would suggest a mix of 80 percent distance with 20 percent interpersonal in a classroom.
While many universities and corporations use various forms of distance learning for certificates, degrees http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/imc/imconline.aspx and even simple meetings (see www.Gronstedtgroup.com), the discussion is still open on the success of pure and hybrid models. Even if a program used only distance learning technology; as a student or participant I would be very tempted to plan a face-to-face meeting during the program and before graduation.
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. Professor, Northwestern University