Home » Education, Students, Training, Utah System of Higher Education

Hybrid courses: the best of both worlds

8 June 2011 3 Comments

Jared Stein, director, Innovation in Instruction and Technology

As UVU enrollment grows, so does the demand for classroom space. Distance Education is responding to this challenge by providing a variety of 21st-century solutions that maintain high-caliber instruction, including online and broadcast courses. Recently DE has keyed in on an innovative delivery approach known as a “hybrid course.” By utilizing online tools and resources, teachers of hybrid courses supplement one or more face-to-face sessions with connected, online experiences that move learning beyond the bounds of the classroom.

Hybrid courses not only alleviate the pressure on physical space but also increase engagement, add flexibility and amplify learning for all students. Hybrid courses blend the best of both worlds: they retain “the magic of the classroom,” or the personable and spontaneous face-to-face experiences we have come to rely on. This is combined with the power of new and relevant technology — reusable, flexible and interactive online experiences that reflect the changing world in the 21st century. This is likely one of the reasons why research suggests that hybrid courses can be more effective than both face-to-face and online only courses. For instance, the 2010 US Department of Education report “Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies” examined 51 empirical studies comparing online education with traditional face-to-face courses and concluded:

…students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course … face-to-face… (xiv)

…instruction combining online and face-to-face elements had a larger advantage … than did purely online instruction. (xv)

UVU’s Innovation Center has been leading the charge in the design and development of hybrid courses by guiding faculty through workshops and providing on-demand support. Last fall, the Innovation Center piloted its Hybrid Teaching Initiative, a series of 12 workshops that led UVU faculty through the process of designing and developing a hybrid course design. The series was compressed for the summer as a three-day hands-on instructional design and technology integration workshop. This year, 13 UVU faculty left the Boot Camp with a hybrid lesson prototype to be used as a model for the development of a full hybrid course. Five faculty were selected to work directly with Distance Education instructional designers for an additional seven days to complete the development of their hybrid course designs.

The Innovation Center will continue to offer faculty support on the design and development of hybrid courses throughout the year with hybrid-specific workshops, technology trainings and walk-in consultations through its faculty lab in Library 114. See the schedule of events for more details.

— Jared

Distance Education
Workshop schedule
Hybrid Teaching Initiative
“Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies”
Innovation Center

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  • Justin said:

    I have seen the Hybrid courses but have never registered for them. UVU has a lot of explaining to do so the general student can understand what they are and why they are important and helpful. I wish your blog post has more description on what to expect with a hybrid course. Once i figure out what they are all about I might start enrolling.

  • Jared Stein said:

    Because all courses are different, it’s hard to say exactly what any given hybrid course will be like.

    However, we can say that a hybrid course will replace at least 50% of face-to-face class meetings with online activities. So instead of meeting twice a week T & Th you might meet just once a week, for example on Th.

    Online activities will vary from course to course, but could include online discussions in forums, live video conferencing meetings, coordinated group work, independent research, online quizzes, etc.

    Hope that helps!

  • Josh Hoopes said:

    Jared, great to see the traditional institutions getting on board with online learning. It is a changing field and will be interesting to see where it goes in the future. A few years back I did some distance course work and the sediment was, “hmm, so you’re taking classes online?” Even though it was a nationally recognized traditional institution.

    So with continued support form innovators, educating the market, the opportunity for great education is becoming more and more exciting as the offline and online education models come together.

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