Integrating Face-to-Face and Online Work
Hybrid courses require thoughtful integration of face-to-face activities with online content. There are some types of activities that are better suited for face-to-face, while others work better in the online environment. However, unique variables such as class content, instructor/student comfort, specific pedagogical approaches to student learning, and countless other variables will impact the course design. As such, the following provides general guidelines rather than a specific approach to hybrid course design.
- Face-to-face and online work should complement, extend, and elaborate on one another to enable students to stay focused on course content.
- It is helpful to start the process by determining how your students will meet the course learning objectives, and then design activities to help students be successful.
- Avoid the “course-and-a-half” syndrome in which the instructor takes everything from a face-to-face course and adds online content and learning activities on top of it.
- Keep in mind that, due to less classroom seat time, you should design instructional content and activities that require extended hours of online student work.
- The goal is to maximize limited and valuable in-class time with engaging, interactive, and collaborative learning activities. It is recommended that class time not be dedicated to formal and traditional exams (i.e. MC, T/F, essay, etc.). If necessary, quizzes and exams can be given online in a low-stakes environment. Authentic assessments should be integrated throughout the course design.
- Consideration should be given to the most appropriate delivery method. Many times the content will dictate the best delivery method.
- Understand that it may take several offerings of the course to get the design right.
Additional Best Practices
For more details on specific teaching strategies, visit Face-to-Face Instructional Strategies to review classroom-based strategies. In addition, the Online Instructional Strategies page lists some examples to use in the online component of a hybrid course. The flexibility of a hybrid course allows multiple assessment strategies.
Many times a hybrid course will require a redesign of a traditional course. Refer to the Course Creation process page to review the possible design and development scenarios.
Regardless of the development scenario, a fundamental approach to designing hybrid instruction is to use a before, during and after class method. Instruction and learning activities should ideally occur before class (online), during the face-to-face class, and after class (online). Instructional activities should complement one another and provide a cohesive learning environment for the students.
N. Vaughan, “Perspectives on Blended Learning in Higher Education.” International Journal on E-Learning, 6, vol. 1 (2007): 81-94.