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Teaching Hybrid Courses

Hybrid (also known as “blended”) courses involve both face-to-face learning and online learning.  Garrison and Vaughan describe blended learning as “the thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences” (2008, p. 5).  Hybrid courses can offer greater flexibility in terms of scheduling, opportunities for students to choose how they will demonstrate their understanding, and pace, as a few examples. However, if there isn’t cohesion between what happens online and what happens in the physical classroom, students can become confused or overwhelmed.

Key Considerations for Hybrid/Blended Courses

Considerations Notes
What should take place online versus face-to-face?
  • Start by reviewing the course learning outcomes and assessments and determine what students would benefit most from doing in class with you and their peers in real-time, and what could be placed online (allowing for more flexibility)
  • It is important for there to be a strong connection between what happens online versus what happens face-to-face
How will learners be kept on track?
  • An at-a-glance schedule and weekly checklists can be used to keep students up-to-date.  Posting these somewhere that is easy to find on the course site is highly recommended
  • The calendar tool in the learning management system is one way to communicate meeting dates/times as well as due dates
What tools will be used?
  • Tools in the learning management system can be used to facilitate online learning activities. Examples: discussion forums, groups, blogs, journals, tests and assignments
  • Google Apps for Education allow teachers and students to share and edit content in a collaborative manner
  • Video software might be used to create a short videos to supplement portions of lecture content or describe key elements of the course, including assignment instructions and explanations.  See the video section of our site for tools you can use for this. 

If you would like to discuss hybrid learning with a member of the Teaching and Learning Centre, please contact us

Additional Resources

Best Practices for Designing Blended Courses - University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence

Blended Learning Toolkit - University of Central Florida

The hybrid learning initiative at St. Lawrence College...Teaches faculty the finer points of designing hybrid courses - Contact North, Teach Online post


Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. D. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles, and guidelines. John Wiley & Sons.  

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