What is hybrid teaching?
Hybrid teaching describes any scenario where teaching takes place at the same time for students who are physically present in the classroom with the tutor, and for students who join the class remotely via a web platform such as Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Teams.
Hybrid teaching can seem like an easy and efficient way to approach blended learning, but this guidance highlights that hybrid teaching can look very different, vary in complexity, and may not be as simple as it first appears. Whatever your context, there is a lot to think about.
The Teaching & Learning Framework – should I hybrid teach?
Hybrid teaching is not part of the University’s Teaching & Learning Framework and colleagues are not encouraged to hybrid teach. Achieving a good student experience through a hybrid teaching session is not easy and typically requires:
- high cognitive load and multi-tasking by the tutor
- redesign of sessions to consider both student audiences
- additional IT equipment in the classroom (e.g. cameras and mics)
- strong technical skills and confidence on the part of the tutor, with the ability to resolve issues that may arise during sessions
- significant time investment required by the tutor for planning and set-up
Given the challenges outlined above, it is not recommended that you try hybrid teaching approaches this academic year.
The only exceptions are:
- where colleagues are already using hybrid teaching effectively (it is recognised that some colleagues have experience of successful hybrid teaching) or;
- if you are confident that you have the necessary equipment and expertise to facilitate this within your School without additional support (in which case, we advise that any decision is discussed within your School, having read this guidance).
There may be some good reasons for considering hybrid teaching, for example:
- you have a student who is registered as studying ‘at a distance’ wants to remain with the same group of on-campus peers, rather than moving to the online group
- you only have two ‘at a distance’ students and an online session just for them would not be a good experience
In these scenarios, a positive student experience is at the heart of your decision-making, and the low student numbers involved may make this manageable. However, if your starting point is timetable related, or due to time-pressures you’re facing, then hybrid teaching is less likely to be the solution, especially where large student numbers are involved.
Is there any support available for hybrid teaching?
Unfortunately, we do not yet have the necessary IT equipment as standard in our classrooms to enable hybrid teaching, and DTS and TEL are unable to provide additional equipment or technical support. You will therefore need to carefully evaluate what existing and appropriate equipment and support is available to you and whether it will be sufficient to enable you to hybrid teach effectively. The lack of support available means you also need to be self-sufficient and confident about handling any issues which might arise.
The extent to which hybrid teaching can be successfully implemented, and the approach required, will vary hugely according to individual context. For example, it may depend upon your cohort size, the balance between on-campus and remote student numbers, student and teaching location, equipment available locally, equipment remote students have access to, or the type of activity you need to undertake. There will even be variation between contexts for the different programmes and modules you teach on. Because of this extensive range of factors, DTS and TEL will not be able to provide 1-1 support for your individual scenario.
We have put together further information to help inform decisions around the practical and technical elements of hybrid teaching. You may find this helpful, having read the information above, if:
- you are confident you have the equipment, expertise,
- and support of your School/Department to hybrid teach.