Hybrid/Blended Design

Hybrid/blended learning is a combination of face-to-face instruction with additional online or distance learning techniques with the goal of mixing learning techniques to effectively teach the content and meet the learning needs of students.

Student benefits:

  • Greater flexibility in scheduling;
  • Ability to track learning; and
  • Encourages ownership of learning.

Instructor benefits:

  • Ability to appeal to varying learning styles;
  • Higher-quality interactions with students;
  • More purposeful face-to-face instruction that emphasizes deeper learning; and
  • Increased collaboration among students.

According to UConn, a hybrid/blended course is one with both in-person and online components. Although the course will have class times, classes will not meet in person for all scheduled meetings but at least 25% of mandatory instruction for the class will occur in person.

How does this differ from a “flipped” course? Flipped course design is an instructional strategy, whereas, “hybrid/blended” or “in-person” are delivery modes.  A “flipped” strategy is most often used along with “In-person” or “Hybrid/blended” modes but refers to the instructional approach and the deliberate presentation of content, activities, and assessments in order to maximize student learning.

Factors to consider when designing a hybrid/blended course:

  • Focus on course design, not technology. Focus on the course learning objectives to guide the activities and assessments in course.
  • Plan learning activities that capitalize on the strengths of online and in-person learning environments. In person sessions are best for problem-solving, performance-based demonstrations, individual presentations, and coaching. The online environment is best for information acquisition, drill and practice, quizzes, project development, peer reviews, and discussions.
  • Avoid fragmentation of course materials. Connect what occurs in class with what is studied online.
  • Don't overload the course. Hybrid/blended learning is not intended to add additional online activities, creating the "course and a half" phenomenon. Calculate the workload associated with the course materials, remembering that online activities typically take twice as long to complete.

Factors to consider when teaching a hybrid/blended course:

  • Provide detailed assignment instructions. Detailed instructions allow students to work independently on course activities.
  • Create an instructor presence in the online environment. Check in on how students are doing every week through offline and real-time conversations.
  • Facilitate online engagement and interactions. Provide opportunities for student interactions in the online environment.
  • Provide regular feedback to ensure students know their progress. Regularly provide feedback and clearly articulate criteria for success.

The process of designing and teaching a hybrid/blended course should start 5-6 months prior to the semester in which it will be taught. Sufficient time to plan and prepare a course is essential for ensuring the best outcomes for students and faculty alike. The resources listed below will assist faculty in the planning and preparation phases of their hybrid/blended course creation.

CETL’s eCampus has created resources to assist in the self-design process.

Planning/Designing Your Course

The five steps in planning/designing your course

Step 1: Organize Course Information
Step 2: Develop Learning Objectives
Step 3: Plan an Assessment Strategy
Step 4: Design Instructional Materials and Activities
Step 5. Review and Evaluate

A key step of the design process is designing your learning objectives. These objectives will provide a foundation for the course and guide you in making appropriate curricular and assessment choices. Clearly expressing the objectives and outcomes informs learners as to what is expected of them, allowing them to monitor their performance and learning against these objectives and outcomes. As instructors create course activities and assessments, they will be mapped to these objectives to ensure outcomes are achieved. This mapping provides a foundation for learners to achieve learning objectives and ensures the instructor is building a learning experience consistent with the intended outcomes.

Preparing/Developing Your Course

The second of the 3  phases includes designing, building, and teaching the online course.

The three steps in Phase 2 are:
Step 1: Choose a HuskyCT Course Structure
Step 2: Build Your Modules, Activities, Assessments, Assignments, and Content
Step 3. Review and Evaluate

Now that the course is planned, it needs to be developed in HuskyCT. If you are new to HuskyCT, EdTech has made resources available on how to use various features. EdTech also offers training, additionally EdTech has created recordings of some of these trainings.

Teaching Your Course

The third phase of the process is to teach the course.

The three steps in this phase are:
Step 1: Finalize Your Syllabus
Step 2: Review eCampus Knowledge Base Articles on Teaching Online
Step 3. Review and Evaluate

eCampus’ Consultations Faculty are encouraged to contact eCampus to consult on any of the steps described above. For a consultation, please submit a support request.