Teaching a Hybrid Class

by: David A. Milazzo

When teaching a Hybrid class, one needs to start thinking about many new classroom and non-classroom activities, rules, guidelines, assessments etc.  I had the pleasure to redesign, and have the pleasure to implement the Hybrid version of Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry (MAT111) for the Mathematics department.  The big challenge of the design was attempting to find the delicate balance or recipe mix between in-class (instructor lecture), activities (guided practice) and online (independent learning at home) for a Hybrid course in Mathematics.

Truth be told, I was a little leery at first with the thought of teaching a 4 credit hour course and only seeing my students for 2 contact hours per week, but when I started to map out the course and the assessments, I found that if a course is designed well enough, it works!  I have PowerPoint presentations from the textbook publishing company in Angel, along with lecture notes and a detailed schedule.  The homework is done through an online assessment tool called MyLabsPlus, by Pearson.  All the assessments are located on this website and the students can access it anywhere internet access is available.  This particular Independent Learning Tool for assessment also allows me to check the amount of time each student spends on each individual question and homework, and it allows me to see a class comparison by question, assignment and grades.

In Angel, the students introduce themselves in an icebreaker activity in Angel which allows them to get to know their fellow classmates more-so than if they only meet in the classroom.  I have the students write introductions and have them read and comment on other peoples intros in an effort to make connections for study groups and note-taking buddies, etc.

I have the course set up so that the students must read their extremely detailed schedule in Angel and follow it to a ‘T”.  The schedule tells the students what PowerPoint and Video Lecture to watch ahead of time so that they will have already been exposed to the content before they come to class (To ensure that the students are doing the prep-work of watching the videos and viewing the presentations, I use the Angel Who-Dun-it tool.  It lets me know who logged, for how log and when for each lecture and presentation).

From here, the class is more of a clarification session or recitation of you will where I go over the concepts again (at a quicker pace than traditional classes) in order to clarify anything that the Independent Learning portion may have left out.  We then go through some examples in class to make sure everyone is one the same page.  I have mini quizzes (1 to 2 questions) periodically that should only take about 5 – 8 minutes at the beginning of class just to reinforce what the students need to work on and what they truly understand.

The tests are done in class so I can see the students’ handwritten work.  This is two-fold; first I get to see the work and find out exactly where a student may have made a mistake in an effort to fix this incorrect notion; second, it helps to ensure that the student is responsible for their own work and not having someone else do the online work outside of class for them.

This is the second 15-week semester that I have taught the Hybrid course and I find it much improved over the first time I taught it.  The students are doing much better this time around and I myself have made adjustments in the delivery of the course to hold the students more accountable for the Independent Learning portion so that they are better prepared for the In-Class portion of the course.  I enjoy it very much and feel that the students are becoming more responsible in the sense that if they do not do the prep-work, they will have a tougher time in class.  As shocking as it may seem, not one student has had anything negative to say about the outside prep-work for the course.  I feel that the students truly understand that they have to be responsible for their education.  With regard to this nice little bonus of student responsibility, I feel that I’m helping the student take charge of their life in a way that is different from what they were taught in high school and that I’m better preparing them for the real world.

All in all, I feel that my Hybrid class that I designed is going very smooth and I feel the students are doing just as well if not better than being in a traditional classroom.  If anyone has any questions or is interested in more information, please feel free to contact me at dmilazzo@niagaracc.suny.edu.

About NCCC Online Learning

I have been helping faculty develop quality courses for delivery online for over 25 years. My online teaching experience includes both online at the undergraduate and graduate level and have created and delivered numerous workshops focusing on the pedagogy of teaching online and strategies to support student success. I hold an M.S. ED in Educational Computing and have proudly worked at SUNY-Niagara County Community College for the last 25 years.
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