Teaching in a Hybrid Setting

Teaching in a Hybrid Setting: What?

Teaching in a hybrid setting means that part of the students physically attends the lecture on campus, and that another part simultaneously attends the lecture online. Students attending the lecture online can either choose to attend individually (from home or from their student flat) or in smaller groups (e.g. at a Study-OO).

Teaching in a Hybrid Setting: When?

At Ghent University, teaching in a hybrid setting is used whenever classroom capacity is insufficient to safely seat all the students. Introducing a rotation system creates an opportunity for all students to attend a lecture on campus. In addition, teaching in a hybrid setting also offers possibilities for external and/or international cooperation, e.g. by inviting researchers or experts from the professional field. 

Please note that teaching in a hybrid setting is no simple matter. A solid technical and didactic preparation is crucial. Engaging different student groups (students on campus, students at Study-OOs, and individual online students) takes meticulous advance planning and well-chosen interaction moments during class. Moreover, students attending the lecture online will experience the so-called transactional distance. The class experience can never be the same for all those groups. 

We advise teaching in a hybrid setting only in case you want to focus on knowledge acquisition and limited knowledge application. At Ghent University, we do not advise a hybrid setting for complex discussions and highly interactive sessions. Let those types of lectures preferably take place either entirely online (possibly including breakout rooms), or entirely on campus in smaller groups. In other words, teaching in a hybrid setting is suitable for the following didactic methods: lectures, tutorials and interactive lectures. 

Teaching in a Hybrid Setting: Options?

There are two options for teaching in a hybrid setting:  

 

The Education Tip on What Tool to Use When Streaming/Recording My Online or Hybrid Lecture can help you to make the right decision. Make sure to contact your faculty beforehand to find out if and where technical support for installing the mobile set is available, and if so, whom to contact.

Teaching in a Hybrid Setting: Points to Consider? 

Be Prepared

Make Clear Arrangements on Asking Questions 

  • for online students, asking questions is a more complex matter than for on-campus students. Right at the start, make arrangements that are clear for all;

  • use the same format in your entire lecture series. This allows students to familiarize themselves with the format. You might choose to open the chat session, or to let students raise their hand virtually, or you might opt for specific question times during e.g. brief breaks;

  • limit the chat session to questions only and avoid discussions. Students will get distracted when they have to keep up with the lecture and a lively discussion at the same time. Moreover, on-campus students will not be able to follow the discussions;

  • running out of question time during class? Answer the remaining question(s) using the FAQ-tool on Ufora, or save them for next class.   

The example below is taken from the trainin session ‘Teaching in a Hybrid Setting”: 

 

Start Small

  • in the beginning, keep the technology simple. Use one additional tool, e.g. the voting app Wooclap. If that works, you can always opt for more tools later;

  • before the actual start of class, ask an introductory question to break the ice. That way, students will already have opened the app, which makes asking questions during class easier. For instance, use a poll in which you ask the students how they are attending your class (on campus, individually and online, online at a Study-OO). In so doing, you immediately include everyone in your welcome, regardless of their different locations;

  • do not start your first class with too many different assignments. You can gradually build in variation in the course of your lecture series, and allow yourself some time to hone your skills.  

Focus on Your Lesson Plan

  • critically consider your lecture goals, how you want to achieve them and what type of student behaviour (i.e. which learning activity) you wish to elicit (cf. the first steps of (Re)designing Your Course Unit;
  • only use technology if there is a clear added value. Moments of interaction should be relevant to both online and on-campus students. 

Time Your Moments of Interaction

  • think in advance about how and when you want to organize interaction moments during class, and how you will involve both groups (on-campus and online);

  • interaction in a hybrid setting takes more time. Determine in advance how much time you can allot to an interaction moment. Keep to that timing, in order not to have to sacrifice other (learning) activities;

  • for instance, incorporate a recognizable and recurrent image in your slides, indicating that it is time for discussion or for making an assignment. Use a time indicator for students to know how long the moment of interation will last.

Ask for Help

  • if multitasking is not your forte, ask for help. After all, it is not easy to pay attention to both student groups simultaneously. You might want to ask a student to monitor the chat session and to signal you when there are questions. Or you might ask a teaching assistant to moderate a discussion in the chat session and to summarize that discussion afterwards for the entire group. This allows you to have the same discussion with the students in the room;

  • if you are assisted by a student, limit the chat session to essential issues like e.g. technical issues and/or (other) questions. It is not for the student to answer those questions but rather to signal you when anything comes up. This way, you avoid the student to get overly distracted from your class.

Choose your Type of Interaction 

The types of interaction in a hybrid setting are best looked at as a continuum. The more complex the interaction, the more challenging hybrid teaching will become. The types of interaction are:  

  • no interaction;
  • the lecturer interacts with the students on campus;
  • the lecturer interacts with the students online;
  • the lecturer interacts with both the on-campus and the online students;
  • the students (on campus and/or online) interact with each other.

 

It is understandable that during a first class, interaction will mainly occur with the students on campus. Make sure, however, that there is sufficient variation in the interaction with the students on campus and interaction with the entire group. It is crucial that students online are sufficiently involved in your class.  

AN OVERVIEW

  Only on campus Only online On campus & online
Lecturer asks a closed question. Hand-raising Polling in Zoom Wooclap
Lecturer asks an open-ended question.  Oral answer Chat in Zoom Wooclap
Student asks a question. Hand-raising to ask the question orally  Virtual hand-raising in Zoom, microphone is unmuted.

Wooclap or virtual hand-raising (online), ‘real’ hand-raising in lecture hall.

Students briefly discuss something with each other. Real-live discussion with neighbour

Wooclap (live message)

Short breakout rooms

Combination
Students discuss something for a longer period of time. 

Real-life discussion in smaller groups.

 

Breakout rooms Combination 

 

Interaction with Students on Campus

In the on-campus group you can call on students by hand-raising. Please point out to those students, though, that they will have to speak loudly enough in order for their online fellow-students to hear them. If this is not an option (e.g. in large lecture halls), repeat the student’s answer in your microphone. It is the best way to prevent the online students getting frustrated.

Interaction with Students Online

If your aim is to interact only with the students online, use Zoom’s polling tool. This type of interaction is rather limited, with a focus on e.g. the technical aspects of teaching in a hybrid setting.

Interaction with Students Online and On Campus

If you want to engage all students in interaction, use the appropriate tool. Large student groups logging in via Zoom is not a good idea because of limited network capacity. But the Wooclap app, for instance, is suitable for several types of interaction. It is also possible to allow online students to answer orally using their microphones. In that case, make sure your computer is connected to the lecture hall’s sound system. 

Interaction between the Students Online and/or On Campus 

If you want to incorporate a discussion moment into your class, use Zoom’s breakout rooms to divide the online students into smaller groups. Students physically present in the lecture hall can consult with their neighbours – students are allowed to form groups and move closer to each other when wearing a mouth cap. You can let a couple of groups take the floor during a feedback moment. If you want to collect all the answers, use e.g. Wooclap, Padlet or Google Docs. This is a way to keep everyone motivated to participate in the assignment, and to quickly share and discuss in plenum ideas coming from the different groups.  

Tip! Divide your class into two parts:

  • during the first half, the floor is mainly yours while you use voting tools to engage students;

  • during the second half, you enable interaction between students.

This creates more time for moments of interaction and gives those moments a more prominent place during the lecture.

Tip! Incorporate a moment of feedback into the lecture or record a short video clip in which you discuss the students’ answers. Upload that video clip e.g. by the end of the week. 

Teaching in a Hybrid Setting: How to Use te Blackboard?

The Education Tip "Digital Writing" (coming soon) discusses how to use the blackboard in a hybrid setting. 

Hybrid Tools: Where to Find the Technical Manuals?

Technical manual on using mobile sets

Technical manual on using Capture Agent

Technical manual on using Zoom

Hybrid Teaching: Where to Find Additional Education Tips? 

  • in all probability, your hybrid classes will be shorter than your on-campus classes used to be. One way to avoid losing crucial learning contents is to work with  flipped classroom. Take a look at this Education Tip
  • gather more tips to design your on-campus lecture here

Last modified Sept. 7, 2021, 3:58 p.m.