This Fall several courses that would have been delivered fully on campus will be taught in a hybrid format. In hybrid courses, there are synchronous/live class times where some students will be in the classroom while others will be attending virtually. Students also complete asynchronous activities outside of the class time. This article provides some tips for designing and delivering a hybrid course. You may also meet with an eLearning Instructional Designer to discuss how to design your course.

Plan the Activities

Man taking notes on a tablet while sitting in front of a laptop.

Determine synchronous activities, asynchronous activities, and how students will be assessed.

  1. Review your learning objectives to help you decide how to teach the content. Decide which topics can be explained well in a pre-recorded lecture, which topics would be better understood with a synchronous activity, and which topics could be further explored through an asynchronous discussion board or activity.
  2. Synchronous Activities: The live class is a great time to encourage active learning. This can include class discussions, polls, or using Zoom breakout rooms for group discussions/activities, etc. To avoid handling paper from students and to maintain social distance, you may want to ask students to bring mobile devices for group activities. Documents can be shared in Canvas or Zoom. Microsoft 365 can be used for collaborating on documents.
  3. Asynchronous Activities: A variety of activities can be completed outside of the class time to allow students more time to process concepts, delve deeper and expand on learning from a class session, or to prepare for a synchronous session. Students can:
    1. Read articles or view pre-recorded videos in preparation for live discussions.
    2. Take a practice quiz to check their understanding of concepts.
    3. Utilize a discussion board to continue the conversation started in class.
    4. Research and share resources on a discussion board for a previously discussed or upcoming class topic.
    5. Complete individual assignments prior to class so they can participate in a group activity during class.
    6. Discuss a case or project on a discussion board with their group and then share with the whole class synchronously.
  4. Assessments: There are a several assessments that can be completed in Canvas to measure students’ mastery of the stated learning objectives.
    1. Using authentic assessments allows students to apply what they have learned in a way similar to how they would apply the knowledge in their professional or personal life. Students can also take quizzes and tests in Canvas.
    2. Clearly explain how students will be graded as part of your syllabus. Providing a description or rubric that outlines the requirements for the assessment and how students will be graded guides students in preparing for and completing assessments

Create the Course

Build and organize the course in Canvas.

  1. Follow the steps in the Faculty Pre-Semester Checklist and organize your Canvas course using these course organization tips.
  2. Set clear and consistent due dates for activities and assessments.
  3. In each module, state what needs to be done before the live class meeting, any documents they will need during the live class meeting, and upcoming due dates.

Communicate Expectations

Communicate expectations before class starts and on the first day of class.

  1. Explain the format of the course. Students may be unsure about which format will be used for which course. In an introductory email and on your syllabus, tell your students what format will be used and what that means. For Hybrid courses, students will be assigned days to attend in person and days to attend virtually.
  2. Provide communication expectations in your syllabus including response time to calls/emails (i.e. within 24 business hours), when you are available for office hours, and how students can contact you (Zoom, phone, email, etc). Faculty are discouraged from meeting in person for office hours. Create a new Zoom meeting link for individual student meetings to ensure only that student can access the meeting. Adhere to FERPA guidelines. Verify the student’s identity and ask them if they are in a secure place before discussing confidential information such as grades.
  3. Set expectations for live class meetings.
    1. For those attending on campus, let them know if they need to bring a mobile device for group activities.
    2. For those attending virtually, specify if students need to have their camera turned on the whole time, during group activities, or if it is at their discretion. Recommend that they use a plain background or a virtual background if using their camera. Tell students to keep their microphones on mute unless they are called on to ask or answer a question. Students should raise their hand using the Zoom tool to request to speak. If using breakout rooms, their microphones can be on the whole time they are in the breakout room.
    3. Let all students know the meetings will be recorded for later viewing, and the recording may include their questions or comments. Indicate where they can find the link in the course and when the link will be posted.
    4. Assign a student or Teaching Assistant to monitor the Zoom chat so that they can notify you of questions.
    5. Communicate contingency plans.
      1. If students are attending virtually and lose their internet connection, they should reconnect if possible. They can watch the recording if needed.
      2. Tell students how they should notify you if they have a personal emergency and need to leave the Zoom meeting. They can send a message through the Canvas Inbox, UAB email, or Zoom private message. If messaging through Zoom, they will need to be careful to make sure they send it to only you as opposed to the whole class.

More Information

For sample verbiage to include in your course syllabus regarding course format, COVID-19 precautions, DSS accommodations, grading, etc., please view the Fall 2020 Syllabus Template.

For tips on communicating with students during the delivery of the course, attend eLearning’s Online Communication Workshop or view the archived workshop from this summer.

For assistance in designing your course, request eLearning Instructional Design services. For training on Zoom or other eLearning supported academic technologies, schedule technology training. View the eLearning website for more resources for teaching online.