Hybrid Course Planning 101

Questions and considerations for faculty members teaching a hybrid course for the first time are outlined below.

How long does it take to plan and setup a hybrid course?

While there is no exact answer to this question, you should give yourself ample time to plan and setup your hybrid course. Successful hybridization requires more than taking the traditional course and “moving it online”. The entire course structure must be reconsidered and redesigned for the hybrid mode of instruction. Once you learn that you will be teaching a hybrid course, the planning can begin. Ideally, a you would have 2-3 months lead time to plan and setup their hybrid course.

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How will you structure your hybrid course?

The CTL published a faculty guide for online/hybrid teaching . The guide provides information on course structuring, assignment design, syllabus creation, accessibility, and technology options.

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What portion of the class will be face-to-face? What portion will be online?

When planning how time will be spent in a hybrid course, you need to consider what will work best for your teaching style and method. Many hybrid courses are split “50/50” between online and face-to-face (F2F) time. This may not be the best method for every course so you may want to consider various options. Some faculty members in the past have found the 50/50 split manageable for their first time teaching a hybrid course.

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What will take place each week during the online portion of the class?

For the online portion of the class, successful hybrid courses typically require students to complete an assignment online due at the same time, every week. This assignment can be used to structure the F2F time. Doing this allows students to get into a routine and come prepared to the F2F sessions. For example, students taking a hybrid course know that by Tuesday night at 10 pm they have to complete that week’s online assignment. The work completed will be discussed and expanded upon in the F2F Thursday session.

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When designing the syllabus for a hybrid course, are there any special sections or aspects that should be included?

  • Give an overview of the course, including details of what a hybrid course entails
  • Clearly delineate what is expected of students in terms of time commitment, internet/computer access
  • Include a breakdown of how/when/where time will be spent (online and F2F)
  • Describe how the online time will be structured (what will happen online?)
  • Create clear and consistent due dates for (online) assignments to include in course schedule
  • In the course schedule differentiate between online and F2F meetings
  • Include information about what technologies will be used and provide instructions on how to find and access that space/tool

These samples of hybrid course syllabi might also lend some insight into past hybrid courses and how they were structured. These syllabi were designed by faculty who participated in the CTL hybridization seminars.

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How does online work factor into the student’s final grade?

Faculty who teach hybrid courses often have to re-evaluate their course assessment structure. Faculty members have thought carefully the affordances that hybrid courses offer to incorporate digital tools for final projects and weekly assignments. Incorporating weekly assignments help structure the course and may change the grading and assessment processes for the course. Since hybrid courses allow for faculty to reconsider assessment some favor assigning final projects (individual or group) as a large portion of the final grade.

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What types of assignments work well in hybrid courses?

When teaching a hybrid course, faculty members often re-imagine traditional assignments and/or develop new ones to better fit the hybrid model. Often, assignments are scaffolded so that each assignment successively builds on skills and knowledge gained in previous assignments. Faculty members have developed assignments for their hybrid courses that:

  • Construct tasks that give students practice before assessment
  • Scaffold low-stakes and high-stakes assignments to build upon each other in a logical progression
  • Give students varied opportunities to be heard
  • Promote active learning
  • Engage students in experiential learning
  • Encourage the use digital tools
  • Construct opportunities for students to create communities in the online environment
  • Work towards a final (often digital) project

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What digital and online platform(s) will you use?

There are various platforms and tools that can be used facilitate a hybrid course. The CTL’s educational technology page provides an overview of the various tools faculty members have used in hybrid courses.

You will probably want to choose a platform to serve as the main online space for the hybrid course. In the past faculty have typically chosen between Blackboard, the learning management system provided throughout CUNY, and Blogs@Baruch, a blogging and website building platform developed here at Baruch. The platforms differ in functionality and aesthetic design. A comparison chart can be viewed here.

Both platforms offer various ways to share course information, engage students, and create assignments that they can complete online. Assignments can also be created using other digital tools, such as Vocat, Forclass, Twitter. Faculty have also used Google Docs for writing assignments and file sharing. If you are looking for a synchronous web conferencing tool, you may want to consider using Webex.

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Is there support available for me while I plan my hybrid course?

The CTL runs hybrid seminars bringing faculty members together to think through the process of hybridizing their courses. For more information, take a look at the summary from previous CTL seminar that also discusses CTL’s faculty development strategy in developing online/hybrid courses. The call for proposals circulates in the beginning of the semester prior to the seminar. For more information, contact Laurie Hurson (laurie.hurson@baruch.cuny.edu) .

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How can I learn about faculty members’ experiences teaching a hybrid course?

On Hybridization is a report about faculty and student experiences of teaching and taking hybrid courses at Baruch in the Spring of 2015.

You may also want to consider applying for the CTL hybridization seminars. In the seminar, past faculty share their experiences and present assignments and syllabi that they designed for the course.

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Who can I contact for help planning my hybrid course?

The CTL has several hybrid coordinators to support faculty in planning and implementing their hybrid course.

  • Lindsey Albracht, Area of expertise: Writing, assessment, accessibility
  • Tamara Gubernat, Areas of expertise: Video production, lecture/screen capture
  • Laurie Hurson, Area of expertise: Ed tech, Blogs@Baruch, assignment design

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