Hybrid courses: The best of both worlds

Re-printed at http://blogs.uvu.edu/blog/2011/06/hybrid-courses-the-best-of-both-worlds/

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.

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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.