Whether a student needs a mental health day at home, or has an emergency trip back home to Portugal (true story), having a hybrid learning option for classes is a sound investment in student learning and success.
What is Hybrid Learning
Hybrid learning is the hybrid of in-person and online learning. This can be seen as live streaming to online students for a traditional in-person class, or including you in person students in your online class. In most cases the transition to full hybrid learning in the classroom is fairly easy, with about 80% of the functionality coming for free.
In a hybrid learning environment there are 4 main communication modalities: audio, video, chat, and content.
Audio includes all spoken material by the professor and students, and is one of the most important communication modes. Ensuring a solid reliable audio connection is essential in hybrid learning as the professor adds most of their value to their content through spoken communication.
Face time is seeing the person, whether that be professor, students or guest speakers. Face time communication is important for creating atmosphere and conveying non-verbal cues in the classroom. Visual cues are used extensively in the classroom for demonstrations and emphasis.
Chat in online classes is often used extensively for communication, and this modality can now be included in the hybrid classroom as well. Using a chat component can increase communication and collaboration for both in-person and online students.
Classroom content can take the form of PowerPoint slides, a whiteboard, a document camera, or even physical items. This is the content typically done through share content/screen with online classes.
These 4 communication modalities are then shared among 3 groups in the hybrid classroom: the Professor, the in-person students and the online students. Each group is internally fully connected, but brining them together is the challenge of hybrid learning.
Moving from online to hybrid
For professors live streaming classes online already, they have been technically using a hybrid environment all along, provided their dog/cat is on the class roster. The only major problem in the in-person classroom will be including these students (i.e. more than the people/pets huddled around your laptop) in the online one. This can be easily achieved by simply connecting the classroom projector system to the online classroom. Enabling hybrid learning in this manner maintains the in-person connections while enabling lecture recording, collaborative chat, and a digital whiteboard to the online environment.
Many online teachers have utilized whiteboard drawing apps and PDF annotation to share content with students. By using a secondary device such as an iPad or tablet computer the professor can hand write notes and share content from anywhere in the classroom and better interact with students in-person and online simultaneously. The secondary device can even be used as a document camera and to capture physical items, when needed.
The in-person to online student connections can be filled out by encouraging in-person students to join on their own mobile devices. This allows online students to join small group discussions, and in-person students the ability to discuss and help each other through the chat features. Having additional devices connected to the online classroom adds additional fail-safes to successfully including the online students.
So next time you’re teaching in-person consider projecting your online classroom and making it hybrid. Running a hybrid classroom like this allows lecture recording, live chat, and content sharing to both your in-person and remote students.