Enhancing Classroom Instruction One Click At A Time


Advantages

New teaching opportunities: "The hybrid took something I always knew was possible and let me do it."

  • Faculty can teach using a variety of online and in-class teaching strategies, which make it possible to achieve course goals and objectives more effectively.
  • The hybrid model allows faculty to develop solutions to course problems and to incorporate new types of interactive and independent learning activities that were not possible in traditional courses.

Student engagement: "In the online classroom, there is no place to hide…. And in that sense, students can become more responsible than you could ever make them in a face-to-face classroom."

  • Instructors report that they feel more connected with their students and are able to get to know them better since they communicate both online and face-to-face.
  • Hybrid environments have the potential to increase and extend instructor-student and student-student connectivity and to build relationships even more so than in traditional or online courses.
  • Discussions started in class are continued online and online interaction often carries over into the traditional face-to-face classes.
  • Integration of out-of-class activities with in-class activities allows more effective use of traditional class time.
  • Students who rarely take part in class discussions are more likely to participate online.

Increased student learning: "My students have done better than I've ever seen; they are motivated, enthused and doing their best work."

  • Faculty believe that their students learn more in the hybrid format than they do in traditional class sections.
  • Instructors report that students write better papers, performed better on exams, produced higher quality projects, and were capable of more meaningful discussions on course material when reflecting online.
  • Students are better able to master concepts and apply what they have learned compared to students in sections of their traditionally taught courses.
  • Students may develop higher-order skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to apply theoretical models to real-world data.

New pedagogical approaches: This format "may challenge you in a whole new way of teaching."

  • Learning to teach a successful hybrid course leads to using more participatory and student-centered learning activities.
  • Teaching a hybrid course transforms the teacher-student relationship to be more centered on student learning.
  • Instructors found that their role as teacher changed from being the "sage on the stage" to become more facilitative and learner-centered.

Documenting the process as well as the product of learning: "The main benefit is that everything is all laid out…well organized…it is all right there…. There shouldn't be any mystery."

  • Many instructors report that their course management system has increased their pedagogic efficiency because of its ability to organize the course and automate some basic activities such as quizzes, grading, and surveys.
  • All the discussion threads, course documents, announcements, and grades are easy to find, refer to, and print if necessary.
  • It's far easier to document online group work and participation for purposes of assessment.

Challenges

Teaching a hybrid course can be challenging, since it requires acquiring different teaching skills, redesigning a course to take into account new teaching and learning opportunities, managing the course content both online and in-class, and preparing students to work in a hybrid format.

Rethinking Course Design: To teach a successful hybrid course instructors must re-examine their course goals and objectives, design online learning activities to meet these goals and objectives, and effectively integrate the online activities with the face-to face meetings. Instructors must make the transition from lectures and presentation to a more student-centered active learning.

Adopting a New Approach to Teaching: Instructors need to learn how to facilitate online discussions and small group activities, and re-examine traditional methods of assessment of student work to take into account the new learning environment.

Managing the Dual Learning Environment: The hybrid environment also adds additional scheduling and communication challenges as courses meet both online and face-to-face. Instructors must also take care not to overload themselves and their students.

Preparing Students: Instructors must be prepared to help students understand their active role in the hybrid, assist students in keeping their work on time and on track, and be prepared to offer strategies for trouble-shooting new course technologies.



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