To help faculty make the transition to hybrid or blended teaching, institutions are creating faculty development programs to guide faculty as they redesign their courses and get ready to teach courses that are partially online and partially face-to-face. This is necessary because successful hybrid teaching requires a significant course transformation. Faculty must rethink and redesign their course, create new learning activities and integrate online and face-to-face course components. Most faculty also have to learn new teaching skills in order to successfully manage online interaction, incorporate new methods of assessment, and effectively use the interactive and organizational tools found in course management systems.
Starting with the original Hybrid Course Project in 1999-2001, the UW-Milwaukee Learning Technology Center's Hybrid Faculty Development Program has been created, offered, assessed, and then modified as necessary over a period of years as we supported a wide range of programs on our own campus — including the humanities, social sciences, business, and nursing — as well as faculty development programs on numerous other campuses around the country. We have also profited from examination of other faculty development programs, as well as our review of the burgeoning literature in this field. Finally, we have consulted and incorporated, as needed, the literature of the cognate area of faculty development for fully online teaching and learning.
The UW-Milwaukee hybrid faculty development model includes presentations by trainers, demonstrations by faculty of their hybrid courses, group discussions by participants, face-to-face breakouts for small group work, course redesign assignments both face-to-face and online, and facilitator and peer feedback on assignments.
During this program, instructors not only learn more about the hybrid course model, but also actually start to design and develop their first hybrid course. Faculty leave the program with materials they can use in designing and teaching their first hybrid course, including a draft syllabus and course redesign plan, one or more learning modules, a course assessment plan, a rubric to evaluate course redesign before, during, and after it is offered, a strategy for supporting and helping students with the challenges of blended learning and with the course technologies chosen, and a means to stay organized and manage the work load when designing and offering a hybrid course.
The UWM program is taught in the hybrid format and involves several face-to-face workshops interspersed and integrated with online learning activities. As a result, faculty directly experience a hybrid course as students would, and are exposed to good examples of hybrid course design and teaching practices. As part of the faculty program, instructors have the opportunity to work and interact with experienced hybrid instructors.