Hybrid learning refers to a course delivery format in which two cohorts of students are instructed jointly and concurrently:
- In-person Cohort. This cohort of learners gathers in the same location as the instructor, and completes 100% of their instructional hours in-person.
- Synchronous Online Cohort. This cohort of learners joins remotely from a study location of their choosing, and completes 100% of their instructional hours via web-conferencing (e.g., Zoom).
In some special arrangements of hybrid learning, there may also be an Off-site Cohort. This cohort of learners would gather in a second or satellite location (e.g., in a classroom at a regional college) and they join remotely via one connection to complete 100% of their instructional hours via web-conferencing (e.g., Zoom). For this type of cohort, there would be an in-class TA or proctor providing technical and teaching support.
Each course delivery format has its benefits and challenges. The goal of academic administrators and instructors should be to weigh these benefits and challenges against each other in the context of their strategic goals and the needs of learners. This will help you decide if hybrid learning is right for your course.
The following table outlines three approaches to hybrid teaching1, based on the level of academic supports required:
|Full Service||Self Service||DIY / Hybrid Lite|
|Concurrent and joint teaching for both in-person and online cohorts||Concurrent and joint teaching for both in-person and online cohorts||Concurrent and joint teaching for both in-person and online cohorts|
|Currently available delivery model||Potential delivery model||Potential delivery model|
|In-person teaching takes place from rooms specifically designed and equipped for hybrid delivery (e.g., Broadcast Studio B in Education 12.1)||In-person teaching takes place from technology-enabled classrooms where audio-visual equipment is pre-installed and instructions for use are embedded into the classroom infrastructure||In-person teaching takes place from any classroom using portable audio-visual equipment (either the instructor’s own equipment, or that which is provided by colleges/departments where available)|
|Highest level of on-campus support available with pre-teaching, live, and post-teaching support arrangements||Supports mostly in the pre-teaching stage, but live technical or teaching supports (e.g., technical assistants, TAs) may be arranged where college/department resources allow||Instructor working independently|
|Live technical and post-production support provided by Media Production staff||As-needed technical support and training available from ICT staff||As-needed technical support and training available from ICT staff|
|Pre- and post-teaching instructional design, pedagogical, and LMS support provided by Distance Education Unit (DEU) staff||As-needed pedagogical consultation available from Gwenna Moss Center for Teaching & Learning staff||As-needed pedagogical consultation available from Gwenna Moss Center for Teaching & Learning staff|
What Might These Levels of Support Look Like?
Like fully in-person classes, or fully online classes, there are endless scenarios for how a hybrid classroom might look. The particularities will be dictated by a number of factors, such as the teaching approaches and experience level of the instructor, the makeup of the student group, the constraints of the classroom infrastructure, available equipment and human supports, the subject matter, and much more. The following narrative examples are meant to illustrate some hypothetical scenarios for what the above levels of support might look like in practice.
A great starting point when formulating the design of a hybrid course is to use the following downloadable planning tool:
Working independently or with an Instructional Designer, use this tool as a basis for cultivating ideas that support good hybrid pedagogy. “Blueprinting” the course in this way will help you plan out the course ahead of time and map the overall structure, meaning better preparedness for the term. The template can help to identify any gaps in knowledge, unnecessary repetition, or missed learning opportunities with the 2 cohorts, and will also assist with the alignment of learning objectives, content, learning activities, and assessments. It will also help you plan for the various educational technologies that need to be in place for the upcoming course, and decide what supports students will need in using those technologies. Once a draft of the plan is ready, you can also use it to gather some feedback by sharing the document with any course/program stakeholders (like Program Administrators or Department Heads).
Explore the following learning activities that work well in a hybrid teaching context. These are just a few ideas to consider when planning for teaching your course in a hybrid format. An Instructional Designer can work with you to identify and adapt teaching approaches for hybrid contexts, and can also recommend tools and learner supports that ensure both the in-person and online cohorts of students have an engaging learning experience.
It is important to spend some time considering, planning, and developing the variety of support materials that are necessary for students in a hybrid class to have a successful learning experience. The following sections outline some broad guidelines, considerations, and specific ideas for enhancing learner supports in your hybrid course. If you need further advice or assistance, please contact a DEU Instructional Designer.
See the following links for additional resources and readings all about hybrid teaching and learning.
1 These three levels of support are based upon the presentation Logistics & Technology in HyFlex, shared by Lisa Corak and Keith Webster of Royal Roads University, at the 2022 conference HyFlex ReAction Event: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.