Instructional Technology/Hybrid Format Courses

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What is a Hybrid Course[edit]

"Hybrid" is the name commonly used nationwide to describe courses that combine face-to-face classroom instruction with computer-based learning. Hybrid courses move a significant part of course learning online and, as a result, reduce the amount of classroom seat time. The goal of Hybrid courses is to join the best features of in-class teaching with the best features of online learning to promote active independent learning and reduce class seat time.

Hybrid Course Advantages[edit]

Hybrid courses offer a number of advantages over face-to face teaching and totally online courses. Instructors from other colleges have reported that the hybrid course model allows them to accomplish course learning objectives more successfully than traditional courses do. Some faculty have noted increased interaction and contact from many of their students and between the students and themselves. Studies have shown that students and instructors liked the greater convenience afforded by the hybrid course model, which allows coursework to be scheduled flexibly and erases the time spent commuting and finding parking. Time flexibility was overwhelmingly the most popular feature of the hybrid courses for the students.

  • Convenience: coursework accommodates students’ schedules, commuting time is decreased. Interaction: Hybrid instructors report increased interaction and contact among students and between the instructor and the students.
  • Flexibility: instructors can accomplish certain learning objectives more successfully than in traditional courses because of the flexibility of the Hybrid model. Rachel Spilka explains this point in her article, Approximately "Real World" Learning with the Hybrid Model Teaching With Technology Today, March 20, 2002.
  • Increased learning: faculty almost universally report their students learn more in the Hybrid format than they do in traditional class sections. Instructors report that students write better papers, perform better on exams, produce higher quality projects, and are capable of more meaningful discussions on course material.
  • Increased retention: data collected from the University of Central Florida (UCF) shows student retention in Hybrid courses is better than retention in totally online courses and equivalent to that of face-to-face courses.

Other references: Hybrid Teaching Seeks to End the Divide Between Traditional and Online Instructionarticle by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 22, 2002.

Hybrid Courses are Best column by David G. Brown, Vice President, Wake Forrest University in Syllabus: New Dimensions in Education Technology, August 2001.


Hybrid Course Challenges[edit]

Instructors and Institutions planning to develop Hybrid courses will face some challenges, which include:

Creating a formal faculty development program for teaching Hybrid courses

Without preparation most instructors will simply transfer traditional course content to the web. Thus, the first essential step is to create a formal Hybrid Course Faculty Development Program. Faculty need to learn how to redesign their courses and how to teach well online.

We offer the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Learning Technology Center’s Model Program as a blueprint for developing your own faculty development program. http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/LTC/model-program.html

Allocating the necessary time for instructors to redesign traditional courses into Hybrids

Course redesign is time-consuming. Faculty need sufficient time to develop their new courses and enhance their instructional skills. This is especially true for first-time Hybrid course teachers. A six-month lead-time for preparation, redesign and course development is the minimal time needed by most instructors to create their first Hybrid courses.

Preparing students to learn effectively in Hybrid courses

Just as faculty need preparation to teach Hybrid courses, students need preparation to learn in Hybrid courses! Students have some difficulty grasping the “Hybrid” learning concept. They are delighted by its convenience but are affronted by their perception of its additional work. We learned that students do not equate time spent in lectures as “work” but DO perceive the online assignments that replace the lectures as “work”. Students need instructors to explain (repeatedly) the Hybrid course concept and why the instructor has chosen this model. Students also need time management skills to succeed in a Hybrid course. See following site for student issues regarding Hybrids: http://www.uwm.edu/Dept/LTC/student-issues.html


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