Hybrid Learning as Community Care

A reflection by Peter Lekx, Master of Divinity student

I want to reflect for a moment on the remarkable technological transitions that we have experienced as students at Dio, thinking particularly of the switch last fall to a hybrid learning model. This consists of in-person learning for those of us who can be physically present at the college, joined by others online via Zoom connections. As someone who experiences health difficulties resulting from extended screen-time, being able to cautiously return to in-person learning last fall was a great relief after having spent eighteen months completely online! However, due to individual health situations or border difficulties, it is simply not always possible for everyone to be physically present, hence our new norm of hybrid learning. Even though I am aided best by in-person learning, I can think of recent situations when last-minute health considerations arose at home, keeping me from physically attending – but still being able to participate! Our hybrid classes have been a fruitful way to create a good learning environment while keeping the flexibility to accommodate our personal situations, which tend to change all too rapidly in the present world. This has allowed us all to err on the side of caution as we consider how to care for our neighbours and colleagues most compassionately.

I have found this method has worked particularly well in the small seminar classes I have been in this year as part of the ministry training portion of the Master of Divinity. Thanks in no small part to professors who are carefully curating these seminars, we end up in deep debate over our course materials and I for one often completely forget about any differences between who is present and who is online – simply appreciating what they are each offering to our communal learning! It has been a blessing to connect through these hybrid learning classes with my colleagues and professors – to have such meaningful discussions that have inspired me to grow in my faith and understanding.