A hybrid approach to course delivery combines face-to-face classroom instruction with online activities. This approach reduces the amount of seat time in a traditional face-to-face course and moves more of the course delivery online. During classroom instruction time, students can be engaged in authentic, collaborative learning experiences. The online components can include multimedia-enhanced content and channels for ongoing discussion. The best practices and resources on this site will primarily focus on hybrid courses that utilize classroom sessions with or without a video conferencing component.
So what does an actual hybrid course look like?
Hybrid learning, also referred to as blended learning outside of Penn State, may have varying definitions. For example, some groups believe that the percentage of classroom reduction is essential to a definition while others do not. One highly regarded group is the Online Learning Consortium provides a set of E-Learning Definitions. Hybrid should not mean lecture in class and send the students home to read a textbook and do online assignments. Research has shown, and effective practice has demonstrated, that the best hybrid instruction allows the students to interact with content and engage in learning activities before, during, and after the face-to-face class. Oftentimes, students can interact with content independently or asynchronously online while collaborating and applying key concepts within the synchronous classroom. A flipped classroom model can be used as a means of balancing or blending the online and face-to-face learning environments.
Flipped: “Flipping the classroom” is a pedagogical concept that replaces the standard lecture-in-class format with an opportunity to explore concepts and to review materials from outside of class. This can happen in many forms, but the underlying premise is that students review information outside of class and, instead of simply receiving information from the instructor, come prepared to discuss concepts. (ITS at Penn State, 2011)
Blended: Blended programs are programs that consist of online courses, resident, and/or hybrid courses (i.e., a combination of two or more of these formats). (Penn State University, 2014)
Online Learning Consortium (2015). E-Learning Definitions. Retrieved from http://onlinelearningconsortium.org/updated-e-learning-definitions-2/
Information Technology Services at Penn State. (2011). 7 Things You Need to Know about Flipping the Classroom [White paper]. Retrieved from http://tlt.psu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/7104/2011/09/2011-Flipping-the-Classroom.pdf.
Penn State University. (2014). Glossary. Retrieved June 2014, from Web Learning @ Penn State: http://weblearning.psu.edu/resources/penn-state-online-resources/glossary/.