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!

About Cathy Miyata

Cathy Miyata is a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is also an acclaimed storyteller and writer. She has performed and lectured in Serbia, Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Mexico, the United States, Egypt, and across Canada

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