How to set up hybrid classroom
Creating a successful course, whether face-to-face, online, or hybrid requires a lot more thought than merely producing study materials and assigning work to students. Think of the course design process as building a house. Though different house types (course design formats) require different procedure, they all come down to these 6 basic steps:
Step 1: Establish clear objectives and expectations
Instructors need to think about the course type, host platform, teaching tools, and most importantly, the course objectives. Course objectives will act as the northstar for your entire course development process, as all learning activities and assessment practices will be derived from them.
Here are some resources for creating clear, effective learning objectives:
1. The Bloom’s taxonomy and its associated verbs are very useful tools for setting up course objectives
2. The SMART criteria is also a wonderful framework to help you define the objectives for your students
Step 2: Decide on the Teaching approaches
Hybrid learning, with the combination of both online and FTF instruction, can accommodate and optimize plenty of learning methods such as Collaborative Learning, Problem-based learning, or Social learning . Introducing a variety of teaching approaches to your classrooms is the key to nurture lifelong learning, increase students’ autonomy, engagement, and active learning, as well as contributing to an inclusive learning environment. Technology presents instructors with endless opportunities to optimize these teaching approaches. For example, when adopting the Flipped Classroom or Team Based Learning in hybrid courses, instructors can integrate several e-learning at every stage.
Read more on different teaching approaches and how to optimize them in digital classroom:
How to build an online learning community shares 5 evidence-based strategies on how to cultivate a social online classroom
Step 3: Plan for Assessment
Assessment is one of the key elements in course design. Therefore, it is important to decide on which assessment types (formative or summative), and specify evaluation criteria to measure whether students meet the learning outcomes. And to facilitate assessment practices that evaluate students fairly and inclusively while contributing to the transfer of lifelong skills, instructors need to use the right assessment tools. Below are some assessment practices and tools to facilitate them:
Combining self, peer and teacher assessment
Integrating these 3 assessment types throughout the course has been proven to help students develop lifelong skills, while reducing the workload for teachers. Instructors can effectively exercise this combined approach in hybrid classes, with the help of pedagogical technology.
Teachers can rely on different e-learning tools to design projects (portfolios, presentations, videos, etc.) where students submit assignments and then review their peers’ work, as well as reflect on their own performance. Finally, instructors provide comments on students’ submitted work on the digital platform, identifying misconceptions and providing explanations to help students. Several FeedbackFruits tools like Peer Review, Group Member Evaluation, and Assignment Review allow for issuing these feedback types.
Online discussion and conference
Asynchronous and synchronous discussion is another effective method that instructors can use to establish effective dialogues and communications in online/hybrid settings. The opportunity to provide clear, concise responses to both teachers and peers allows students to cultivate critical thinking, and evaluation skills, while further reducing teachers’ workload.
Pedagogical technology, again, allows teachers to create seamless discussions in online classes. For example , instructors can design discussion group project where students work together on a project (a presentation, a video, or a paper), upload their work, then provide feedback on other groups’ work based on a given rubric.
Digital summative assessment
In a face-to-face setting, knowledge-based tests like quizzes, tests, or exams are favorite methods to measure students’ progress and performance. In the online/blended classrooms; however, there are major constraints to how these assessments can be conducted. As students’ use of outside resources can’t be monitored, knowledge-based tests need to be redesigned to focus on developing higher order thinking skills and delivering constructive feedback, rather than rote memorization. And FeedbackFruits tools such as Quiz and Team Based Learning tools can help you upgrade the traditional pen-and-paper exams.
Digital performance-based tests
Performance-based strategies like presentations, videos, or podcasting are great ways to measure multiple learning objectives and allow students to apply and showcase what they learned. There are plenty of great teaching technologies that allow instructors to replicate on-site performance-based assessments in a blended environment. And FeedbackFruits tools are among these. Many institutions have used tools such as Discussion on Work, Discussion on Topic, Assignment and Skill Review to set up the activities where learners can present their work and engage in discussion with peers, thus demonstrating their ability to apply knowledge and information learned.
Read more on assessment in hybrid/blended settings:
4 strategies for effective assessment in online/hybrid learning
Step 4: Design Online/in-person Activities and Course content
Once the course’s goals and assessment have been set, let’s decide on the learning activities and resources needed for the course. It is critical to identify activities that capitalize on the advantages of each environment (online and face-to-face). Here are some suggestions of activities suitable for synchronous/asynchronous and in-person sessions, along with the tool suggestions:
Groups are formed during class, with students working on a project or question.
Instead of studying the content before class, the materials can be brought to the synchronous sessions. Students would work together in breakout rooms to discuss the answers.
, Google Meet
, Microsoft Teams
Following the Jigsaw method, students are assigned different readings, discuss them in groups, and then engage in discussion with the second group.
Presentation, podcast, portfolio
Live presentations are held via the online platforms. Feedback and comments are exchanged during the session via chat function.
, Google Meet
, Microsoft Teams
Instructors organize sessions for students to showcase the products, while reviewing others’ work.
Instructors upload pre-recorded lectures with in-line questions, explanations, or discussion to engage students during before class preparation.
Tools: Interactive Presentation
The lectures take place through the online conferencing platforms. Students can raise hands or post questions through the comment box.
, Google Meet
, Microsoft Teams
Traditional in-class lectures can be made more interactive with inclusion of visuals, discussions, quick group activities, or interactive quiz. Everything should be recorded and shared with students for revision.
For further suggestions on e-learning tools for hybrid classes, check out this guide:
Designing Hybrid Experiences: Example Learning Activities and Tools
Developing study content is the most time-consuming aspect of course design. Especially in the online/hybrid settings, instructors need to dedicate certain time deciding on the appropriate types of study materials (written, audio, or video), and the order in which they will go that suit students' learning needs and preferences. Below you can find suggestions of where to find and craft multimedia course content:
Course reading, articles archive and creation
– Open Educational Resources (OER): Merlot, OER Commons, OpenStaxCollege
– University online libraries
– Adobe, Microsoft Word, Google doc for editing
Video and Audio content archive, record, and creation
– Teded, Youtube
– Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Vimeo for lecture recording
– Vimeo for video edit and creation
– Kaltura, Audacity, or recording function on laptops or mobile
Visual content archive, record, and creation
– Canva, Pexels, Adoble Stock Free for free stock images
– Canva, Adobe Illustration for editing and designing
Step 5: Final touches - Ensure for Accessibility and Interaction
Make sure the course is accessible and inclusive to everyone, as your students will be attending the course from different parts of the world, from different platforms (in-campus or online) and time schedules. Also, leave room for online interactions as well since remote teaching makes up for a large part of the course. Instructors can create captions for the video, vary study materials types, or combine different teaching approaches to cater for students’ diverse needs. Many teaching tools also offer multiple accessibility features, such as automatically generated captions, or multimedia file upload.
You can refer to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework or Inclusive Course Design considerations to promote inclusivity and accessibility.