7 Steps for Designing a Hybrid Course
As we bring the habits of online learning into traditional classrooms, more and more educators are adopting hybrid learning for greater flexibility, access, and resources. For those who are equipped with the right tools, the question remains–how to design a hybrid course for the best learning outcomes? In this blog, we will walk you through seven important steps to building your hybrid class. Keep reading!
What Is a Hybrid Course?
Hybrid learning is an educational model in which some students take classes in-person, while others connect virtually from home. A hybrid course strives to engage both worlds in an effective and meaningful way.
Before giving a lecture, however, teachers may confront some majors challengs: how to design a successful hybrid course? Should I make some preparations before class? How to carry out class activities? How about online tests? Among others. So, here I share seven steps for designing a desirable hybrid course.
7 Steps for Designing a Hybrid Course
1. Focus on preparations
Prior to designing your syllabus, don’t forget to ask yourself two questions: how can I prepare for the hybrid course? What should my students do to prepare for the class? For the former, it doesn’t have to be too much, just make sure your classroom is well-equipped and your students either remotely or in person would engage in your class on time. Hybrid learning tools have prepared a lot for you in terms of technological and device support. But do consider the five must-have affordances for choosing the best one!
As for the latter question, remember to remind your students of such materials as printed articles, online textbooks, academic handouts and so on. Also, remind them prepare for class discussions or presentations, if any.
2. Keep classes varied
“When putting your course together, think in terms of what students are going to do or deal with on any given day; ensure you’re planning a course that varies the student experience,” according to Yael Grushka-Cockayne of Harvard Business Publishing Education. So breaking down your students into smaller groups beforehand can help a lot.
In the course of case studies, students in traditional classrooms can partake in in-person discussions, and the online groups can carry out synchronous projects in the meantime. There are also other ways to mix it up.
3. Design class activities
A hybrid course encompasses a number of activities we can imagine thanks to technological advances and new educational trends, such as case studies, group projects, debates, presentations, and research. When designing class activities, you can write instructions that cover
modalities (individual or collaborative)
sources of reference (such as book chapters, journal articles or online resources)
expected final products (documents, videos, research proposals or research papers)
delivery specifications: format, deadline, means of delivery
evaluation specifications: evaluation criteria or checklist that will be used to grade the activity
4. Consider time-efficient quizzes
Quizzes or concept tests present a wide range of opportunities for educators who wish to incorporate timed assessment on a recurring basis. Time-efficient quizzes, compared with untimed assignments, provide students with more frequent opportunities for feedback and offer instructors meaningful data points pertaining to students’ performance and progress.
These quizzes, due to stricter time limits, prove equitable for students both in-person and online. Technology can help streamline these processes–for instance, ClassIn enables you to hand out small blackboards, use the timer, or conduct MCQs as well as generate data driven learning reports afterwards.
5. Assess students flexibly
Prioritizing flexible assessment arrangements in a hybrid course means shifting our focus beyond determining viable “alternative” assessment arrangements in the short-term, on to more sustainable approaches that are contingent on the needs and circumstances of students, giving them more control and ownership over assessment processes.
Flexible assessment is inclusive, learning-focused, transparent and shared. You can design your own assessing system that takes into account different students’ location, schedule, and more. To further support the implementation of your hybrid courses for 2023, you can also refer to Teesside University’s “Considerations and Resources for Supporting Different Assessment Methods in a Hybrid Model.”
6. Gather feedback from students
Gathering feedback from your students about their experience in the hybrid courses is a valuable way to assess and adapt your teaching. By understanding whether students are doing well with your teaching style and learning from the courses, you are more likely to improve your hybrid courses in an effective way.
Regardless of what types of feedback you prefer, you will want to make it possible for all students to reflect and contribute in a meaningful way.
7. Continuously implement changes based on feedback
Continuous feedback models are a series of ongoing, structured conversations in company business. Software company Adobe, for instance, finds continuous feedback to be one of the most successful ways to increase employee engagement and productivity, which heralds an impressive boost in project success rates.
The same also holds true for educators and students. Continuous feedback from students both in person and online can help teachers iterate and improve their hybrid courses. So do remember to gather student feedback on your activities, quizzes or assessments and implement timely changes to deliver a successful hybrid course!
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