Teaching Hybrid

In a couple of weeks, I (Cathy)  will start teaching my first hybrid course.  Also known as mediated learning, blended learning, and web-enhanced instruction, this kind of course can be considered  “the middle ground between our society’s adolescent love affair with technology and ancestral need for human contact and a sense of belonging” (Landau, 2015).

Baker College’s Instructional Technology Web site on blended instruction defines some of the advantages of hybrid or blended instruction:

  • Providing tools to facilitate communication outside of scheduled class time and office hours enhances student-student and faculty-student communication.
  • The blended learning environment supports different learning styles and methods.  Students have time for reflection when participating in online discussions and can participate at a time and place that meets their needs.
  • Online materials are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, insuring that students always have access to assignments and other handouts.
  • On-line testing can be used for student pretests and practice.  On-line discussion between class sessions can identify areas of student difficulty that need to be addressed in class.
  • Course management and administration is simplified with an online gradebook and tools for email management.

http://www.baker.edu/departments/instructech/blended.html

The Hanover Research Council (2009) suggests the following  best practice teaching strategies for online education:  Group problem-solving and collaborative tasks;  Problem-based learning;  Discussion;Case-based strategies;  Simulations or role play;  Student-generated content;  Coaching or mentoring;  Guided learning;  Exploratory or discovery;  Lecturing or teacher-directed activities;  Modeling of the solution process; and  Socratic questioning

Yet, even though there are numerous advantages to online learning and many strategies  to make it effective learning,  I am told many students simply ignore the online material and rely on what they learn in class.  I suspect this may be because they feel it is easier to play hooky from a computer, or their schedules simply get in the way.   However, I feel my students will miss a lot if they ignore the online portion of our course. So I am collecting strategies to entice the students to engage in the online offerings;

  • offer a mark for engaging on line
  • provide enticements or teasers for what they might find online
  • review of intended learning for online work in class to ensure clarity,

and finally

  • use video streaming and/or chat rooms at designated hours so students feel connected to the site

I hope these ideas work, as I am looking forward to giving this a try.  If you have taught a hybrid course and have some more ideas, I’d really like to hear about them… online of course!

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