The Basics & Training
Interesting in teaching a hybrid? Any three hour class can be offered as a hybrid, with 2 hours of face-to-face instruction and one hour online! Adjuncts and full-time faculty can teach hybrids! Hybrids give both students and instructors greater flexibility in building their schedules.
Faculty teaching hybrids should:
- Be willing to learn new digital platforms and tools
- Be able to teach and train students how to use these platforms and tools
- Be prepared to do some strategic thinking and backwards planning in creating their hybrid course, as a lot has to happen on the back-end to make it successful
If this appeals to you, first email Professor Bethany Holmstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know you are interested. We prefer to train new faculty in the fall to teach in the spring, with an intensive syllabus/prompt workshop with other faculty (not all trainees) in Fall II.
Before you teach a hybrid, you’ll also need to take the School of Professional Studies Online Teaching Preparation course, a two-week training which is offered around five times a year. Both the chair and provost must give permission for you to take it. SPS tends to prioritize people teaching online sooner rather than later in their course registration. While this is an entirely online training, faculty have reported that they found the exercises useful, and have learned a lot about digital strategies from other CUNY faculty in a wide variety of disciplines.
Here at LaGuardia, hybrid classes all have a 2:1 split (2 hours face to face or F2F, 1 hour online); it is perhaps better to think of our hybrid offerings as “web-enhanced” rather than the more flexible models of hybrid scheduling/structuring you might encounter elsewhere.
When we say one online hour, that means that students should be doing some kind of work on a digital platform that is equivalent to an hour of in-class activity. This might mean, for example, that students participate in a discussion forum, or screen a lecture/video and respond to it, or write and swap/respond to journals using digital platforms to facilitate a remote exchange. This is in addition to their assigned reading or other work, not in place of it. Simply having students do a minor task — like, say, emailing couple sentences to the professor — is not hybrid work. You can see many examples of syllabi to get a sense of how instructors deal with the hybrid hour (and more on this below).
Because this is an hour of class time, students who do not complete their hybrid work are considered absent for that hour of class. Your attendance policy should factor this in, and professors should make it clear to students that missing work impacts both their attendance and their overall grade. Our attendance platform requires that you fill out attendance for the hybrid hour as well as the F2F time.
CUNYFirst does not advertise particularly clearly or well that students are signing up for a hybrid; therefore, we encourage instructors to message students via BlackBoard before the course begins, letting students know it is a hybrid and that they will need to be working online, remotely, and that they need to have good time management skills and be self-motivated. Students should have a minimum GPA of 2.5 to take a hybrid, but CUNYFirst does not make this distinction or check this when students register for a hybrid.
Design: Thinking About the Hybrid Hour & Hybrid Teaching
As you can see from the syllabi, instructors approach this in many different ways. But here are some useful questions to keep in mind when approaching this hour, and hybrid teaching broadly:
- How is the time spent online better than what we could do with that time in a face-to-face setting?
- Does the tool or platform fit individual needs, the course objectives, and our project aims?
- Will the tool or platform be useful for students in the future? (Could they could list on their resume?)
- Are we making sure that we aren’t using the tools as a substitute for actual teaching and learning?
- Are we using the time and digital spaces to have students make, create, and challenge themselves (and each other)? Or are we using these times/spaces for busy work and a way to mark attendance?
- How are we scaffolding tech use and our academic content/skills? Are we exploring intersections between these two to enhance the course?
- How are we training students to use these tools? Can they hack/modify the tools/platforms on their own in the future?
- How are we factoring universal design principles into our materials?
- How can we be proactive rather than reactive when considering accessibility?
- How are we preparing students for the hybrid experience?
- How are student identities and privacies protected (or not!) depending on the tools we use?
- How are we confronting the realities about accessibility to technology? Many of our students might not have computers at home, or reliable wi-fi: how do we factor that into our design and planning?
- How are we creating collaborative and community spaces for students?
- How are we creating collaborative and community spaces for each other, as colleagues?
- How do we give students ownership and agency?
- On a related note: how do we de-center, or trouble, authority – including our own?
- Are we remaining flexible and reflective? If a tool, plan, or design fails – for us or the students – do we have ways to support each other and acknowledge what we’ve learned from the experience?