Teach Hybrid

I have been assigned a hybrid teaching modality, in which I have to divide my students into multiple in-person meeting times. How do I manage that effectively? 

Consider structuring your course to take advantage of in-person time to create highly focused and interactive sessions designed to build community, work on group projects, problem-solve, engage in rich discussion, or provide guidance on your most complex topics. The rest of your coursework (brief lectures, readings, discussion boards) is conducted asynchronously. Some models for this include:

Asynchronous Plus modality: You may decide that all students will complete the same work asynchronously, and you will design one face-to-face session per week that will be repeated for each of your sessions with students. In this case, the session should be one that adds value each week, and is not dependent on a strict sequencing of instruction. The advantage to this is that you do not need to simulcast your class or create both digital and analog content for the same day’s work.

Examples of the kinds of activities that occur in the face-to-face sessions of an Asynchronous Plus class include: 

  • working on problem sets

  • analyzing case studies

  • viewing/critiquing film clips

  • peer assessment of assignment drafts

  • working on group projects

Any opportunity to practice relevant skills and receive instructor feedback in the moment is a strong candidate for your face-to-face session. The key is that new content is delivered completely asynchronously online; face-to-face sessions are devoted to student activities. 

Modified HyFlex modality: In a modified form of the above, students might complete the same assignment in different ways based on their physical or digital location. You might provide both digital and analog ways of completing the work in ways that still accomplish the same goals. For example, while you lead a discussion with your Monday in person group, the rest of your students at home will participate in the same discussion asynchronously on a discussion board or VoiceThread platform. This option will provide maximum flexibility if the university must pivot to fully online instruction during the semester by providing options for students who may not be able to come to class due to self-isolation or illness. 

This approach does require significant work for faculty. When planning lessons for this modality, each activity needs both an in-person and asynchronous method of delivery: 

  • A lecture you deliver live, for example, should also be recorded and placed on Canvas. 

  • A short writing activity that you don’t normally collect from students in a face-to-face class could be a discussion board prompt as well. 

  • One element that might support this approach is a general rubric that emphasizes the particular skills or concept mastery you hope students obtain, regardless of modality. This approach supports equity across comparative assignments and assessments for students by ensuring all activities remain focused on the same goals. 

Simulcast learning modality: You may choose to stream in-person sessions so that students are attending both in person and at home at the same time. Group work and general approach in these sessions has to be managed to allow for all students to participate: 

  • Pay particular attention to ensure students attending from home can hear what happens in the classroom. 

  • A “check” at the start of class to ensure all students -- physically and digitally present -- can hear and see you will support all student access, and welcome all students to the session. 

  • To the extent possible, strive to treat all students equally in the class by treating your webcam / computer kiosk as a live student (be sure to make occasional “eye contact” with the device, position it near physical students if possible, keep an eye on raised Zoom hands, call on digital students as well as physical students).

  • Essentially, if you have students Zooming and in person during the same class, design and emphasize the shared spaces AND the added value of separate spaces simultaneously. First, find places where all students can collaborate in class together like a Google Doc, Canvas Discussion Board, or taking turns commenting on visual media (your in-person students likely wouldn't be doing physical group work anyway, so the digital space actually draws students together). Second, design and articulate distinct and equal values for synchronous students in class and on Zoom. What can the Zoom students do that physical students cannot, and vice versa? For instance, can you run a fishbowl discussion with each set of students? Can Zoom students do some research while in-class students discuss a topic? Articulate "added value" for being on Zoom, and help students understand that their synchronous Zoom time is not "my turn to be sidelined," but rather a rich and fully different way of engaging the same class.

  • Click here to for a handy guide to simulcast learning.

Additional Approaches: In general, the goal of hybrid teaching this fall is to help all students participate as members of the same course with roughly similar experiences (which means building community and ensuring equity across different modes of assignments). Some ways to support these approaches include:

  • Invite students to share basic written or video introductions of themselves in your Canvas site -- this approach ensures all students “meet” in a similar way

  • Maximize use of Google Docs and Canvas Collaborations when possible to help all students work on assignments in the same “area”

  • Establish a “backchannel” on Twitter or a Canvas discussion board where all students can go to raise confusions, seek clarifications, or ask questions. This shared space helps all students stay intellectually engaged together

  • Reach out to each student periodically to check in on their experience and help them stay connected to you and the course 

The following set of infographics can also help you think through various course and classroom arrangements as you imagine your teaching in Fall 2020: https://www.clemson.edu/otei/fall2020-academic-models.html

UPDATE: We've got new information on the classroom technology available in classes for the fall semester. Click here to download this short guide.


Some material on this page was adapted from the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching. Additional ideas can be found here: https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2020/06/active-learning-in-hybrid-and-socially-distanced-classrooms/.
Scroll to Top