Teach Hybrid

Hybrid modes of instruction involve some combination of in-person and online learning, often including a face-to-face component (the traditional classroom experience) combined with either a synchronous component (live meetings such as via Zoom) and/or an asynchronous component (on-your-own-time activities, such as on Canvas). Although valuable during the transition back to more in-person classes, you may find hybrid strategies useful in a variety of situations. HOW your course will be hybridized in an important decision to make early in the course design process.

 

As you develop your hybrid course, consider structuring your course to take advantage of face-to-face time, either in-person or synchronously, 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) may be conducted asynchronously.
 
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Asynchronous Plus

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. 

Examples

In a literature course, the students watch pre-recorded lectures, read the text, and participate in discussion board activities as the asynchronous component of the class. The value-added piece for the in-person sessions take the form of small group activities where each group is given the task of glossing and/or interpreting specific passages from the assigned text, mapping out concepts on whiteboard, doing gallery walk activities, etc.

For a math course, students might also have asynchronous lectures and readings. The asynchronous activities could focus on process-oriented “think-aloud” discussions where students focus on how to solve various problems. The value added in-person piece could take the form of students working in pairs or in groups on problem sets while the instructor moves about the room, checking in with each group and helping when needed.

Asynchronous/Synchronous Plus

This model is much like the previous ones, capitalizing on in-person time to do the same kinds of activities described above. However, it adds a synchronous element. 

Structure: In this scenario, the entire class would meet together synchronously once a week (say, Monday). Then groups would be split to meet in-person one of the other days of the week (one group on Wednesday and one group on Friday) to do interactive work as described above. Asynchronous work is provided to round out the week’s work. Again, the asynchronous work in general is the presentation of new content or engagement of students in activities that either prepare them for the in-person/synchronous work or follow up with content that reinforces the in-person/synchronous work. 

Examples

For a literature course, the entire class would meet together synchronously once a week (say, Monday). Then groups would be split to meet in-person one of the other days of the week (such as half of the group on Wednesday and half on Friday) to do interactive work as described above. Asynchronous activities, such as reading responses, are provided via Canvas to round out the week’s work. Again, the asynchronous work in general is the presentation of new content or engagement of students in activities that either prepare them for the in-person/synchronous work or follow up with content that reinforces the in-person/synchronous work.

For a math course, the structure could be similar to the literature course. The main difference would be the asynchronous activities, which would focus on problem sets and quizzes. This allows the instructor an opportunity to provide individual feedback to give students time to rework or redo the problem sets.

Modified HyFlex

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.

Examples

In this model the literature instructor would design both face-to-face and asynchronous versions of all learning activities. The student would have the option to attend the live lecture or watch the prerecorded version, to participate in the face-to-face small group activities or to work on a discussion board, etc. At every step of their learning journey, they could move from in-person to asynchronous learning and back again.

Under this model, the math instructor would probably want to create two problem sets for each lesson. One set would be worked on during the face-to-face session, while another would be available for asynchronous learners. Both would cover the same concepts, but we recommend different problem sets to reduce the possibility of sharing answers from one group to the other.

Simulcast Learning

Please note: many instructors have attempted simulcast teaching and found it quite challenging. Some instructors have found simulcast an effective means of meeting the demands of COVID-impacted teaching, but it requires a significant commitment of time and effort to be successful. The equipment needed to be both in person and have an online presence at the same time requires significant resources. And the multitasking required to execute learning activities and manage discussions between two different populations (those in the room and those at home) can increase instructor’s cognitive load. In fact, instructors report having to focus on either one population or the other, as they are otherwise not able to manage the class session effectively. The instructor might want to have the Zoom meeting projected using the classroom A/V equipment so that the students in the classroom can see their colleagues at home during whole class discussions. (To make sure the students at home can see the students in the classroom would require moving the camera in the classroom or setting up a separate camera to video capture the students.)

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.

  • Check out our handy guide to simulcast learning.

Examples

A simulcast literature course would probably rely on collaborative spaces such as Google Docs where students in the classroom and at home could both work together on the same learning activities. Canvas Groups and Discussions would also support these cross-collaborations.

A simulcast math course might use Microsoft OneNote or Google Jamboard for collaboration, as the drawing tools these options provide will make equations easier. The comment feature available in both tools will allow students to communicate even when not on the same Zoom call. 

Need help selecting a hybrid mode? This chart may provide some guidance.

 

Asynchronous+

Async/Sync+

Modified Hyflex

Simulcast

Face-to-Face/Live Component

Optional

Yes

Optional

Yes

Pre-Recorded Lectures

Yes

Optional

Yes

Optional

Live Classroom Video Feed

No

No

No

Yes

Requires Managing Two Populations

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Requires Classroom AV Technology

No

No

No

Yes

Student Chooses Mode of Instruction

No

No

Yes

No

Contact with Students

Medium

High

Low

High

Flexibility of Time

Yes

No

Yes

No

 

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: https://www.clemson.edu/otei/fall2020-academic-models.html

Additionally, don't miss our short guide on the technology available in classrooms. 

Need Individual Assistance?

  • The CAT's Teaching Online Short Course for Faculty or Online Teaching Institute will give you the tools you need to help you develop an online course from scratch!
  • CAT has workshops to help you teach your courses successfully in various modalities.
  • Schedule an online consultation with one of CAT’s faculty developers or educational technology specialists during our normal business hours, in the evening or on the weekend.
  • Call us at 215-204-8761 during our regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m EST. Our specialists are still there on the other side of the phone line.
  • Email cat@temple.edu and a CAT staff member will answer your questions via email or get back to you to set up an appointment.
  • Visit our Zoom Drop-in EdTech Lab, a virtual lab that will be staffed by educational technology specialists during our regular business hours.
  • Get 24/7 support for Canvas and Zoom.

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/.
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