Given the unique opportunities that hybrid (also known as blended) can offer, approach planning thoughtfully. Instructors need to be familiar with not only the strengths of online and face-to-face teaching in their rights but also how they can feed into each other over the longer-term. To begin your hybrid/blended course development:
- Review the hybrid/blended teaching and learning overview on this page.
- Download and read the Introduction to Hybrid Teaching Workbook (PDF).
- Engage in the self-paced training with curated readings and the 20-Minute Mentor Commons, a digital library of online seminars
- Register to attend our upcoming course design programs.
- Discuss your questions with our staff via email email@example.com. This will create a ticket in ServiceNow.
What is important about hybrid/blended learning?
Online environments provide vital spaces for students and instructors to exchange resources and ideas. As you start to think about and develop your hybrid/blended or online course (Online Learning Consortium), keep in mind that some of your face-to-face classroom material may transition easily to an online learning environment, and you may need to rework others. A successful hybrid/blended or online course is an opportunity to create new material and apply innovative teaching strategies.
Why use hybrid/blended learning?
Hybrid/blended learning can also provide more flexibility for students and instructors. It offers varied ways for students to engage in and demonstrate their knowledge.
Some technologies allow for more learning to take place or facilitate a specific learning activity that might not be possible without technology. As a bonus, both instructors and students can develop their technology skills through hybrid/blended and online learning.
Considerations for using hybrid/blended learning
In-class teaching does not always easily translate to the hybrid/blended or online learning format.
Allow for time to review and re-imagine education.
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) and copyright guidelines differ slightly for hybrid/blended and online mediums. Follow the FERPA policy and complete the training. Work with the ISU Library for Course Reserves in your class, Open Educational Resources, along with guidance for copyright use. Additionally, read the most up-to-date information about Digital Course Materials on the ISU Book Store website.
Be proactive with accessibility requirements.
Before students disclose a request for accommodation and should be taken into consideration when designing and developing your course. Use resources from CELT’s Accessibility in Your Course page.
Consider time-on-task for both online and in-class activities.
Make sure the online components do not merely make the course more time-intensive. To get an idea of what you are asking students, use the Workload Estimator 2.0 (Wake Forest).
Designing your course
A hybrid/blended learning course takes the “best of both worlds” by combining face-to-face and online learning. Technology may better facilitate some types of learning, and class time can be shortened or used for activities that better lend themselves to face-to-face interaction. An integrated course model accommodates a broader range of learning styles by offering flexibility, more options for learning, and integration of learning activities that lead to more in-depth knowledge. These are just a few techniques that instructors have used to design hybrid/blended learning courses.
- What learning activities or assessments will provide students with opportunities to develop or demonstrate achievement of the course learning outcomes?
- Which of these learning activities or assessments would best lend themselves to an online format and which to a face-to-face format? What combination of online and in-class activities would best address the course teaching and learning objectives?
See the Assessment and Evaluation page.
- Work collaboratively – Wikis and blogs allow students to collaborate flexibly with fewer time and space restrictions. Have students compile a course glossary together, or work in groups to produce a proposal. Collaborative writing exposes students to various writing styles and approaches and provides them with more feedback on their writing and ideas. To learn more, see the Collaborative Tools Instructional Strategies page.
- Prepare for in-class activities – In addition to assigned readings, providing some course content online through video tutorials or documentaries, for example, allows students to preview course material visually. Requiring students to take an online quiz before attending class can be a source of motivation while providing instant feedback regarding their understanding of the material. Use the tools and resources found on the Quizzes and Exams Instructional Strategies page.
- Engage all students in discussions – Offering students the opportunity to discuss online accommodates a variety of learning preferences. Asynchronous (not confined by time) discussions allow students time to think and reflect before responding. Online discussions provide a means for students, and instructors can always view, evaluate, and build on all contributions. Incorporate practices and resources on the Discussions Instructional Strategies page.
- Develop self-assessment and peer assessment skills – Online assessment tools facilitate ease in giving and receiving feedback. Assignments can be online, and students can post instant responses or email their feedback. There is a diverse amount of options in the Assignments Instructional Strategies page.
- Pick one or two samples of online student work to discuss in more detail in class (e.g., Transparency in Learning and Teaching).
- Have students present research findings through a presentation or conduct lab experiments.
- Utilize active learning techniques such as composing quick writing responses, working in pairs to answer questions, searching online for relevant information or clarification, or merely having students compare their notes with or quiz their neighbor. (See instructional strategies for Writing Activities and Reading Activities)
- Prepare students for collaborative work with team-building activities that allow students to get to know each other, set expectations, and make work plans. For example, groups can create their processes and procedures for when/if they encounter group problems.
When reviewing or designing a hybrid/blended learning course, ask how the online and face-to-face components work together to address the learning outcomes, accommodate various learning modalities, allow students to engage with the course content in meaningful ways, and lead to deeper learning.
Some examples of integrating online and in-class activities:
- Online activities can prepare students for in-class activities, and vice versa – Students work online on group projects and then meet face-to-face to plan and rehearse their final group project presentation.
- Interacting with content online can prepare students for in-class discussion – Students review content (readings, videos, etc.) and then take an online test before attending the class in which they discuss or debate topics.
- Online interactions can reinforce or extend those that occur in the classroom and vice versa – Students provide feedback to each other online and then respond to the input in face-to-face sessions. Or students finish a discussion online that started in class.
- Let online student work inform your lecture – For example, have students post key definitions online for the whole class to edit and refine. Before class, review these, and pick one or two that deserve discussion; address learning issues or best practices (Sands, 2002).
Example of course integration
- Review this course integration example MAN4350 Business Administration from Dr. Kathy Holland page page, University of Central Florida (Blended Learning Toolkit)
A hybrid/blended learning format is advantageous to have students engage with course content online, leaving more time in class for active learning. In addition to providing students opportunities to engage with the material in meaningful ways and to interact with classmates in their learning community, class time used to:
- Assess student learning more often with classroom assessment techniques. Using index cards, ask students to apply a concept to a real-world situation, or have them write down an essential point of the class and collect their answers to assess their comprehension. Using hands or audience response systems (e.g., Top Hat), have students answer multiple-choice questions to gauge understanding. For more ideas, see the Classroom Assessments Techniques page.
- They should provide more feedback by walking around and answering student questions as they work through and getting stuck on problems. Before you answer questions, consider posing the issue to the group first.
Things to consider when planning your course:
- Have regular due date patterns in your class, for instance, a reflective writing due on Thursday afternoon each week. This helps students set up a schedule of participation for your class. Make sure the due dates fit your schedule. That is, schedule due dates for days when you are available for last-minute questions. Also consider when you’d like to do your grading each week to enable rapid feedback.
- As you create your course schedule, consider stating the actual due dates (e.g., Sep. 28) only in your course schedule posted online, noting them by day and week elsewhere in the course materials, such as a mention in your Week 2 module that a paper will be due by Wednesday of Week 4. This will help you re-use course content with fewer editing requirements in subsequent terms.
Provide clear information to you students to be successful:
- Explain the rationale for using a hybrid/blended learning approach and list the learning benefits (expect some resistance as students may be out of their learning comfort zones).
- Provide an orientation to the technology required in the course and inform students of where to go for additional support.
- To familiarize students with expectations, start with a “low-stakes” assignment.
- Discuss time management strategies and communicate expected time-on-task for online learning activities.
- Have students create a learning plan for the course.
- Explain assessment, grading, and what kind of feedback they can expect from you and their peers.
- Provide structure for online activities. For discussions, assign students to respond to specific posts, or for peer feedback, provide guidelines or a rubric.
- Use the assignment, quiz, and discussion tools in Canvas when possible. These tools streamline assignments for students and instructors by connecting the assignment, student submissions and associated grade center columns.
Compare Traditional Learning vs. Hybrid/Blended Learning
Explore the instructional strategies and tools
Strategies for students to complete or participate in course work at different times.
Self-Paced Training for Hybrid Learning
- 7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model (EduCause, 2020, July 7)
- 6 Models for Blended Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Course Delivery (EduCause, 2020, August 18)
- BlendKit Course: Readings website (University of Central Florida)
- Online Learning Consortium free download and read the Online & Blended Learning: Selections from the field (PDF) (Routledge FreeBook)
- Read the e-Book or download Hybrid-Flexible Course Design (Brian J. Beatty)
20-Minute Mentor Commons, a digital library of online seminars
Use the 20-Minute Mentor Commons for ISU page to register and log into Magna Commons. Then, access the CELT curated 20-Minute Mentor videos to guide the course delivery mode of Hybrid/Blended Learning by searching for the following recordings:
- What is Blended Learning?
- In Blended Courses, What Should Students Do Online?
- How Do I Convert a F2F Course to a Hybrid Course?
- Where Can I Find Flippable Moments in My Classes?
- What Are 5 FAQ’s About Faculty Roles in the Flipped Class?
- How Do I Infuse Equity into Any Online Class?
- Additional seminars via the Online Learning page
Hybrid/Blended Teaching and Learning, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Hybrid/Blended Teaching and Learning, is a derivative of Hybrid & Online Learning developed by Cornell University’s Center for Teaching Innovation (retrieved on June 7, 2020) from https://teaching.cornell.edu/learning-technologies/hybrid-online-learning.