Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Tips for Teaching Hybrid Courses

Hybrid or blended courses are defined as using the web for interacting (not just posting).  Courses are considered to be truly hybrid if the amount of online work falls anywhere between 30-70%.  There are several pros to implementing hybrid courses within your teaching curriculum, but there are challenges with employing them as well.
The first thing an instructor must consider when making the switch to hybrid is which material to present online vs. which material to present face to face.  This means considering how you are going to deliver lectures, discussion activities, projects, and homework assignments.  If this sounds daunting, never fear!  The following tips from instructors who have mastered the art of hybrid courses can help. 

  1. Keep time frame in mind.  Remember that you’ll have to create or revise material to make it web-friendly, and you might have to take time to learn the ins and outs of the system you’ll be using.
  2. Be sure to consider your students.  What sort of needs and skills do they have that will enhance their use of the hybrid course material?  What sorts of struggles or obstacles might they face with online material?
  3. Utilize D2L for a streamlined and cohesive collection of information.  Students are going to use D2L a lot throughout their time spent at the university, so even if you are teaching an intro course with mostly freshmen, it’s still a good idea to use the D2L system so that students get used to using it as much as possible.  Plus, if you aren’t teaching classes with high freshmen populations, your students will already have the experience they need in order to work with D2L for your course.
  4. As it goes with all elements of teaching, don’t try to recreate the wheel.  Reuse the materials you have already created, or make adjustments to them to utilize them as online materials as well.
  5. Prepare for a longer amount of your time to be spent online.
  6. Make sure to explain to students what your online expectations are during an in-class session.  This provides ample opportunity for walk-through demonstrations and questions.
  7. Consider where lecture material best fits into your curriculum.  Would your course benefit from more in-class activity time and small group discussions?  Record your lectures ahead of time and post them online for students to watch before attending class.  (More information on this under the “Flipped Classroom” tag.) Would you like for students to witness your lectures face to face?  Utilize the online portion of your course for discussion and supportive readings or case studies.
  8. Have students work collaboratively online.  This is the most important thing to remember when creating a hybrid course.  Students shouldn’t only use the online portion of the course to post things and forget about them.  They should be interacting with one another, discussing the elements of the subject area, and working through issues that they might be faced with concerning the material.
  9. Even though your students will be working in two different environments for your course, don't expect them to complete twice the amount of work
  10. Keep the creativity flowing!  Just because you will no longer be implementing certain elements of your course face-to-face any longer doesn't meant you have to get rid of the really intriguing and thought-provoking activities you have done in the past.  Hybrid courses just mean reconsidering how you can best implement those activities for stronger learning experiences.
Written By: Jessica Moser

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