How are Hybrid Courses Structured?
I received the following great question via email. I'll respond but I'd love it if we all provided input, and use this space to describe how your structure your hybrids.
I will be teaching as a hybrid class at a high school next fall. I completed the 2 online classes at Delta and nothing was mentioned about how to teach a hybrid class.
Can you please tell me about how this kind of class is structured and where I can find out more about doing this?
"Hybrid" describes a course in which some traditional face-to-face "seat time" has been replaced by online learning activities. The purpose of a hybrid course is to take advantage of the best features of both face-to-face and online learning.
An online or distance education course is conducted entirely and exclusively via Canvas. The online format is the primary method to deliver the course materials. Communication and interaction occur online between faculty and students. All assessment of student work is conducted online.
A hybrid course is designed to integrate face-to-face and online activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom.
At Delta, the ratio of face-to-face and online time of hybrid courses is determined by divisions and departments. However, instructors control which components of the classroom instruction they want to handle online or in the face-to-face classroom.
Here are a few examples of hybrid courses that illustrate different structures for the face-to-face and online components:
- the instructor lectures and facilitates class discussion in the face-to-face classes. Students complete online assignments based on these classroom activities. These online assignments are posted in Canvas discussion forums for online discussion;
- an instructor places materials or lectures online using PowerPoint or Zoom recorded lectures for students to review. Then, in the face-to-face class, students use these online materials to engage in face-to-face small group activities and discussions; and, they submit assignments online, and may take tests in class or online.
- students prepare small group projects online, post them to discussion forums for debate and revision, then present them in the face-to-face class for final discussion and assessment. The instructor may lecture face-to-face or stream a lecture online.
The possibilities are endless!
Hybrid (also known as 'blended' learning) is the best of both worlds - in-person and online instruction. Make the best of the face-to-face time you have with students to help them master the content you want them to learn.
Hybrid schedules can be quite diverse, depending on the subject and needs:
- a hybrid class may meet 2+ hours a week face-to-face and the rest of the 'time' is done online. Or, it may meet 1 hour face-to-face a week and more is done online.
- another practice is for an instructor to meet with the class face-to-face for a few weeks, then shift to hybrid for the rest of the term;
- alternatively, the first few weeks of the course may be face-to-face preparation, followed by an extended period (such as a month or more) of online work;
I hope others will chime in and share how they structure their hybrid courses.
I am really motivated to start a conversation about HYBRID IDEAS, FORMATS, and BEST PRACTICES. As an experienced online instructor, this Spring I had my first hybrid experience. Full disclosure: Before the stay-at-home order, I was feeling frustrated that I had not hit my stride relative to the potential for hybrid. (Honestly, I think this was due to being a newbie with the format —and also— being in the middle of online course revision.)
My (pre-pandemic) plan/format:
- First 4 weeks, 90% face-to-face; 10% online — essentially a face-to-face, web-enhanced course; then
- After 4 weeks, shift to primarily online with face-to-face meetings dedicated to examinations.
My objective with this plan/format:
- Create a learning environment that maintained accountability; while also
- Offering a format where students have a chance to build necessary online skills and thus, be better prepared for fully online courses.
Background and where my plan is at today: Just as my hybrid class was about to shift to fully online, the schools closed. While the timing aligned with my "pre-pandemic plan," the stay-at-home order and rapid shift to fully-online impacted delivery on multiple levels — technological, academic, personal. This format/plan still has merit and I've learned a lot due to the current situation but in terms of efficacy? Will need to try again in future!