What is hybrid instruction?
Hybrid (or blended) education is a multi-modal instructional delivery term where instruction and engagement includes in-person class meetings and online instruction. While "blended" delivery reflects the andragogical nature of teaching and learning through this delivery, UNLV uses the term "hybrid" to remain consistent with NSHE Board of Regents terminology. At UNLV, "Hybrid classes must have the majority of instruction delivered at a distance and the face-to-face component, although reduced, is mandatory and scheduled." This definition affords University faculty the flexibility to use mixed-mode delivery of instruction based on learning objectives, learner characteristics, and course level.
Hybrid (or blended) instruction encompasses both face-to-face and online learning. As such, it can be said to offer the "best of both worlds" where a variety of learning preferences can be accommodated, flexibility for students and faculty is increased, and the format is effective across a broad spectrum of content and learner types (U.S. Dept. of Education, 2010).
What does hybrid instruction look like?
Hybrid instruction mixes both online and classroom-based instruction with at least a majority of the instruction time online. There are no specific requirements as to the mix of classroom and online activities, although there are typical patterns of use. For example, an instructor may use in-person class time for conducting class discussions on the material, clarifying course learning objectives, and guiding group collaboration. The online portion may present course learning content, host course readings, explain course assignments, and provide opportunities for group communication and file sharing.
Orientation to hybrid courses typically, but not always, takes place during the first in-classroom session where the course calendar is reviewed, students are able to ask questions, and learning objectives are explained.
What are the benefits of hybrid instruction?
By offering both online and face-to-face instruction, technology and direct contact is combined, enabling learners to refer to their online resources while still getting support and guidance face-to-face with the instructor. Course materials can be accessed twenty-four hours a day, allowing for more flexibility, and students can become more self-directed with guidance from the instructor.
- Administrative/Institutional benefits - The flexibility and student support afforded by hybrid courses support UNLV's strategic plan to improve retention, progression, and completion. Furthermore, hybrid learning strategies help improve classroom utilization, align delivery to academic need, and help increase enrollment in courses and programs.
- Faculty benefits - Traditional face-to-face instructors that deliver courses using the hybrid model have access to the full range of OE services and support as well as to a wider range of technological strategies, pedagogies, and assessment options. Instructors can provide more flexible schedules for their students while leveraging the advantages of both online and face-to-face instructional modes.
- Student benefits - Students benefit from scheduling flexibility, while exploring new ways of learning. They are encouraged to take an active role in their own learning which has proven to enhance their academic experience and success. Students have access to more courses and programs as well as reduced travel time and expense.
Models of hybrid instruction
Although the ways that online and in-class instruction can be combined are almost infinite, there are two common models for hybrid instruction. One model emphasizes classroom-based presentation of information while assignments, learning activities, and assessments take place online.
An alternative approach "flips" the traditional methodology by emphasizing online instruction via text, video or audio presentations while reserving classroom time for group learning activities, discussions, and coaching.
The overarching goal is to use the best environment for the purpose without unnecessary duplication and for maximum efficiency.
Process for Hybrid Course Development
If your unit wishes to offer a totally new course as hybrid or re-envision an existing course as hybrid, please begin the request process by completing the online course development approval form.