GGC Hybrid Course Resources
For Students: Is a Hybrid Right for You?
- Pros and Cons of Hybrids 
Menu of GGC Hybrid Course Resources:
1. Overview of the Hybrid (aka Blended Learning) Model
Online learning is emerging as a significant component of course delivery in education today. The primary driver of this movement away from the traditional classroom is the student. For students, online courses provide flexible scheduling, access to world-class programs, and self-paced instruction. However, online learning has some limitations. Learning experiences such as field training, observation, initial group collaboration meetings, and laboratory exercises may be better experienced face-to-face. In addition, students with low computer literacy skills may find it more challenging to navigate online courses. The response to these limitations is the hybrid (or blended) format which captures the strengths of both online and face-to-face instructional delivery modes.
How is the hybrid course structured?
Hybrid courses vary in their structures depending on the course requirements. The following are four possible options:
1. Instead of meeting three days a week for 1 hour and 15 minutes, classes meet twice a week for the same amount of time. The course is enhanced through online activities/materials, including discussions, chats, tutorials, surveys, quizzes—all of which reflect the self-paced characteristic of totally online courses.
2. A course that meets once a week for four hours (lecture plus lab) meets once each week for three hours. During the other hour, students might be expected to conduct research and complete assignments that ultimately get posted to the online discussions area.
3. A course may begin with in-class meetings to set the expectations for course requirements. Thereafter, for a period determined by the instructor, there may be no regular class meetings. Instead, the instructor may require small group meetings with the instructor, group meetings and individual work posted and shared online. Towards the end of the semester, for whatever period of time is designated by the instructor, the in-class meetings will provide the opportunity to revisit concepts introduced throughout the semester, conduct small-group activities, make group presentations and conduct peer reviews.
4. A course may meet twice a week in the traditional format, but only once a week in the hybrid format. This format puts added responsibility on the instructor to connect the online activities with the in-class discussions so the class is not viewed as two separate entities. The challenge faced by the instructor is to take a critical look at their teaching and determine which aspects of their teaching are critical to the classroom and which aspects benefit most from the integration of online tools such as discussions, email, chats, recorded lectures/notes, quizzes and tutorials (self-produced or publisher’s).
2. Typical Misconceptions of Course Redesign
1. The first step in course redesign is to decide what needs to be moved online. You should first identify the learning outcomes for your course and then determine how you will know your students have achieved these outcomes.
2. New material should be introduced in the face-to-face session before referring students to online materials. You can assign work that introduces students to topics before they come to class. That way, they should have exposure to the material, making the in-class discussions more interactive.
3. If you feel more comfortable with the lecture format, then continue with that approach. Take the knowledge students gained from pre-class activities and design more active learning exercises for the class time. The lecture format does not promote deep learning. Go outside your comfort zone, with incremental changes that move you away from traditional teaching approaches.
4. Most of the learning occurs in class, with the instructor dictating the format. Students will interact with material at a time most convenient for them. Design opportunities for them to do so through short writing assignments, homework problems and online quizzes. Do not create busy work that fails to provide students with meaningful connections to the material.
5. Stay with one form of communication. Create ways to blend online and in-class communication. Use the technology covenant designed by GGC to communicate the different ways you can be reached, both inside and outside of the online course.
6. Avoid collaborative assignments because students complain about group work. Design the assignments so that students can readily see the requirements (check lists, rubrics) and break it into chunks with milestones so that they do not procrastinate.
7. Online resources should be limited to research databases where the integrity of the source is unquestionable. Given the proliferation of online sources and the students’ comfort level with these tools, you should embrace the availability of not only research databases but YouTube, Flickr and other Web 2.0 tools.
8. Assessments should take place only in the classroom to verify student’s identification and guard against cheating. While many Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are available to determine if students are “getting it”, the hybrid course offers the widest array of choices. Low stakes assessment provided by online self-tests and practice quizzes give students the opportunity to repeat these assessments as often as you permit and get immediate feedback. Online tests can be designed in different formats that discourage cheating, provide the ability to pull randomly from your own database of test questions, and provide selective release.
9. Completing course redesign is a solitary task. GGC has a rich resource of instructional designers, BB Vista expertise, librarians and fellow faculty to assist you in the task of converting a traditional course to a hybrid course. Attend GGC workshops that provide you with demonstrations of best online practices.
10. What’s obvious to you as the course designer will in turn be obvious to your students. Be careful to not front-load your course with all kinds of material that students find difficult to traverse. At the beginning of the semester, within the first two classes, provide them a with a scavenger hunt that requires them to move through online material and acclimate themselves to the course tools and the location of key resources. Beware of the course and a half syndrome in which you attempt to over-compensate for the loss of face-to-face time.
3. Best Practices of Blended Learning
Examples of Blended Learning Patterns
- Pattern for Independent Learning
- Pattern for Discussions
- Pattern for Fitness Screening
- Pattern for Teamwork
4. Assessing Blended Learning
For Spring 2009, there were 5 hybrid sections of ITEC 1001 (all MWF). These hybrid sections were taught by Nannette Napier, Sonal Dekhane, and Stella Smith. Students in the hybrid sections were surveyed at the midpoint and the end of the semester about their perceptions of the hybrid format.
- Survey questions for assessing student perceptions
- Summary of Student Perceptions (Spring 2009)
- As experienced in the fall semester, students responded more favorably to the hybrid course at the end of the semester than they did at midpoint
- At the midpoint, female students had a higher overall satisfaction rating than male students. This trend was consistent for both the Fall and Spring semesters. By the end of the Spring 2009 semester, however, these differences seemed to have disappeared. Note: Comparable data was not available for end of the Fall 2008 semester.
- Over 70% of the students expressed overall satisfaction with the hybrid format and were likely to take another hybrid course, if offered by the college.
For more information about these surveys and assessment results, please contact Nannette, Sonal,or Stella.