Hybrid Course Defined
The terms hybrid and blended are used interchangeably. According to THECB, a hybrid/blended course is, "A course in which a majority (more than 50 percent but less than 85 percent), of the planned instruction occurs when the students and instructor(s) are not in the same place." With a hybrid course, the goal is to optimize student engagement by taking advantage of the strengths of both the face-to-face and Web-based environments.
In contrast to an in-person course with online supplementary materials, the instructor and students in a hybrid course interact with each other online. Consequently, a hybrid-course instructor must know how to build a course with effective online materials and be able to facilitate online instruction.
What are the steps in building a hybrid course?
First: Plan Your Course on Paper
- Start early — at least six months in advance. Developing a hybrid course requires a re-conceptualization and redesign of the face-to-face course, which takes time.
- Set interim deadlines for yourself by which you will complete the following tasks.
- Start small. Select one or two modules to design and build. Experiment and learn as you go.
- Identify activities that capitalize on the strengths of each type of environment. Sample activities follow. (Note: While the following activities may work better in one environment versus another, several can be adapted to both environments.)
- Face-to-face is good for:
- Establishing social presence and support
- Nonverbal communication
- Defining assignments
- Negotiating expectations and responsibilities
- Diagnosing students’ conceptual problems and providing immediate feedback
- Role play
- Student demonstration of psycho-motor skills
- Online is good for:
- Sustaining group cohesion, collaboration, and support
- Reflective, on-task discourse
- Broader participation in discussions
- Critical analysis
- Self-paced learning and practice
- Self-assessment quizzes with feedback
- Automatic grading of multiple choice, T/F, fill-in-the-blank tests
- Create a content outline, chunking content into modules. View an example.
- Write learning objectives for each of the modules. Learning objectives provide specifications for assessment and guide the development of instructional strategies. They communicate to students the standards and expectations of the course. Read about important considerations when writing learning objectives.
- Become familiar with TRACS and third-party tools and how they can be used to support learning and assessment. Read about technology options.
- Develop a planning matrix. The planning matrix provides an overview of all the activities in the course.
- Determine the module titles and write objectives for each module. View an example.
- Determine how you will provide content. Read about content options for hybrid courses.
- Determine assignments and assessments by which students will demonstrate mastery of each objective. Consider online quizzes and exams as well as discussion prompts, essays and papers, student presentations or media, etc. Add the online content, assignments and assessments to the matrix and indicate after each objective how students will demonstrate mastery of that objective. Indicate whether the content and activities are online or face-to-face. View an example.
- Review the planning matrix to determine if there is a mix of activities that engage students and if the workload is manageable. Read about important considerations when reviewing the planning matrix for a hybrid course.
Second: Produce or Obtain the Course Content
Developing online content is the most time-consuming aspect of designing a hybrid course. Plan to carve out plenty of time to do this.
- Develop online lessons and assignments. Read about important considerations when developing online lessons and assignments.
- Produce media (e.g., production video, graphics, Captivate). Staff in the Faculty Project Lab (firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-245-7375 can assist you.
- Acquire course content that you will not produce yourself.
- Read about how to acquire content for your course.
- Address copyright issues before you post third-party materials. Read about important considerations when addressing copyright issues.
- Construct a detailed syllabus. View an example. Include the following:
- The organization and rationale of the course
- Expectations regarding student responsibility for learning
- List of tasks with due dates. Make it very clear which tasks are to be done in class and which are to be done outside of class and how the tasks are related.
- Time management tips
- Resources for technology support
Third: Build TRACS Components
After you have planned the course and developed all the course materials, you are ready to build the course in TRACS.
- Post content to Learning Modules or Resources. View training documents for Learning Modules and Resources. We recommend Learning Modules because it enables a guided structured learning sequence. For information on best practices, refer to Learning Modules Guidelines. You may also want to create a document with your content in it before working in Learning Modules so that you can easily copy and paste it into the tool. Read more about documenting your content.
- Create Assessments. View training documents for Assessments.
- Create Discussion Forums. View training documents for Forums. For information on best practices, refer to Discussion Forum Guidelines.
- Create Assignments. View training documents for Assignments.
- Post the syllabus.
- Post a welcome announcement. A welcome announcement helps establish your presence.
Fourth: Pilot the Course
- Prepare your students for the hybrid format by reviewing the course organization, expectations, course schedule, and technology support.
- Facilitate online instruction by communicating with students and providing feedback on assignments in the online environment.
- Survey students at mid semester and at the end of the semester to collect feedback about the course. View a list of possible survey questions.
- Analyze the feedback from the survey(s) and revise the course accordingly.
How Can ITS Instructional Design Help
- Schedule a time to meet with an instructional designer to talk about your course. Contact Ann Jensen at email@example.com.
- Apply to either the 40-hour Foundations of Online Course Design and Development or semester-long Advanced Online Course Design and Development.
- Attend one or more of the following 1.5-hour pedagogy and technology workshops. For more information, visit the ITS Workshop site.
- Survival Skills for Online Teaching
- Creating Teaching Presence in an Online Course
- Manage an Online Course and Still Have a Life
- Using Online Discussions Effectively
- Teaching with the Power of Web 2.0
- Online Collaboration: Supporting Student Teams
- Attend technology workshops. For more information, visit the ITS Workshop site.
- Refer to the following resources:
- University of Wisconsin's Hybrid Course Website
- Faculty Resources for Distance Education
- Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education
- Quality Matters: a faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components.