Hybrid Teaching Tips
- Online & Hybrid Teaching
- Teaching Strategies
Last modified: December 1, 2023
Hybrid teaching can be challenging, but there are techniques that can improve the experience for instructors and students
Defining Hybrid Teaching
The term hybrid teaching has been applied to a variety of course modalities, but for the purposes of this guide, it is defined as simultaneously teaching on-site and online students. Usually the instructor is in the room with the on-site students, and online students join the class over Zoom or another video conference platform.
It is challenging as an instructor to provide an equitable experience to students in the physical and virtual classroom spaces at the same time, but there are approaches and teaching techniques that can help.
Before your class is in session, you can increase you opportunities for success (and decrease your stress) with these tips:
Plan for online students and adapt for on-site
- It is much easier to plan your lessons for an online audience and then adapt them for on-site students than it is to adapt lessons meant for on-site students to the virtual environment.
- Have your on-site students bring computers with them (or ask Classroom Support to provide a computer cart). This will enable better peer-to-peer interaction between on-site and in-person students. CELT also has headset microphones that you can borrow for on-site students to help facilitate communication and reduce microphone feedback noise on Zoom.
Set up Your Classroom
- Request that your class be held in a classroom with cameras and microphones (Egan 108, 109, 114, or 220), or ask Classroom Support to set up microphones and a camera for you to use.
- For the first few classes, ask someone from Classroom Support to be available to help troubleshoot technology issues, so you can focus on instruction.
- If possible, use two computers: one for screen sharing, and one for monitoring chat and online students.
- Arrive at the classroom early, and get your tech set up and running with time to spare before class begins.
- Set up expectations for communication for both on-site and online students. For instance, you can ask online students to use the raise hand response in Zoom if they would like to ask a question, or ask that students wait to post questions or comments in the chat until designated times.
- Ask a student in the class to monitor the chat and alert you if there are important questions or comments to address. This can also be a rotating job that is filled by a different student every class.
You will feel more confident and better able to focus on teaching if you practice using the technology and tools before your first class meeting. Set up a time to use the classroom space where your on-site students will meet and invite friends or colleagues to act as pretend students both in the physical room and online. Instructional designers and CELT Team member are also happy to act as pretend students. Hybrid teaching does get easier the more you do it, too, so please be kind to yourself if things don't go as smoothly as you would like them to at first.
Below are some suggestions for teaching methods and activities that work well in a hybrid environment. Start slow when incorporating new technologies, however. Focus on using Zoom-enabled tools to start and then introduce other tools one at a time. If students have to apply too much of their cognitive load to figuring out the technology, they won't be able to focus on and absorb the content you are sharing.
Community Building Activities
Building community is essential in a hybrid environment to help online students feel like part of the class and to help on-site students see online students as peers and contributors. These can be done during your course meeting time, or asynchronously on your course site. Here are a few resources:
- Community Building Activities from Equity Unbound and OneHE - While these activities are aimed at synchronous online classes, each one has adaptations to help you use it in a hybrid or asynchronous environment
- Community Building in Online and Hybrid (HyFlex) Courses from Columbia University CTL - also includes considerations for asynchronous activities
Collaborative and Interactive Activities
Research has shown that when students interact actively with content and with each other, it increases their understanding and retention of content. The resources below have suggestions for how to incorporate interactive work in a hybrid class:
- At a Glance: Hybrid Teaching Best Practices and Tools from UAS CELT - tips for activities and online collaborative tools, like polls, shared documents, and social annotation
- Teaching Tools: Active Learning While Physically Distancing from Louisiana State University - this immensely useful chart demonstrates how to use a wide-variety of active learning strategies in different modalities. The options for physically-distanced classrooms can be easily adapted or used in a hybrid classroom
- Five Tips for Hybrid/HyFlex Teaching with All Learners in Mind from Columbia University CTL - helpful tips and ideas for creating accessible and interactive course materials and activities for hybrid classes