Hybrid Teaching Strategies
Models of Online Course Delivery
ITLE supports instructors in their dedication to provide quality learning experiences for all students, whether they occur in physical classroom spaces, online, or through a blend of the two approaches. We encourage instructors to select an approach that best meets their course and program goals, as well as the individual needs of their students.
Recognizing the updated definitions of the various models of course delivery provided by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), we offer the following descriptions as examples of the most commonly occurring learning environments, as well as information related to our support for each approach. The methods fall along a continuum, with approaches that prioritize face-to-face experiences positioned at one end and approaches that take place fully online at the other.
Classroom Course – Course activity is organized around scheduled class meetings.
A traditional classroom course is typically organized around regularly scheduled class meetings with some degree of required student attendance. While face-to-face courses may utilize technological tools and resources, they are anchored in the idea that the bulk of teaching occurs in physical classroom spaces. Student learning in this model may include attending lectures and/or laboratory sessions, participating in group activities, field work, or internships. The remaining examples list and explain pertinent online teaching delivery models.
Synchronous Distributed Course – Web-based technologies are used to extend classroom lectures and other activities to students at remote sites in real time.
Courses using this model use synchronous technologies—existing or occurring at the same time—to broadcast classes to students who are typically in off-campus locations. Our departments of Educational Technology Services and Meetings & Events Services can assist you in selecting and implementing the appropriate technology to achieve this goal.
Web-Enhanced Course – Online course activity complements in-person class sessions without reducing the number of required class meetings.
Web-enhanced courses are similar to courses following the traditional classroom teaching model, but offer additional learning experiences via the internet. These internet experiences enhance classroom activities, and may replace up to 20 percent of what is considered traditional classroom work. Web-enhanced courses require well-developed materials on the learning management system, which place them further along the continuum toward blended or hybrid learning.
Blended Learning (also called Hybrid Learning) – Course activity occurs in both traditional classroom teaching and an online format in varying degrees.
- Blended Classroom Course – Online activity is mixed with classroom meetings, replacing
a significant percentage of, but not all required face-to-face instructional activities.
A blended classroom course uses technology to replace a portion of the in-class learning experiences, which may reduce the amount of time actually spent in the traditional classroom setting. Some institutions use blended courses with traditional on-campus students to improve efficiency or lower the density in classroom spaces. For example, replacing 50% of classroom experiences with online experiences would allow an institution to schedule a second course in the same room. Similar to a flipped classroom model, the online activities support the work that occurs in the face-to-face environment.
- Blended Online Course – Most course activity is completed online, but there are some
required face-to-face instructional activities such as lectures, discussions, labs,
or other in-person learning activities.
Blended online courses are the mirror image of blended classroom courses. While the majority of the course occurs in an online format – and may even be listed in the course catalog as an "online" course – there are also a small number of required in-person learning experiences. It is important to consider course goals and the importance of the face-to-face requirement, as it sets geographic limitations on students’ access to the course.
A Flipped Course tends to fall somewhere along the continuum near a Web-Enhanced Course or a Blended Classroom Course. This variation is because the model of the course is not the defining characteristic. Rather, it is the organization of in-class activities and outside-class activities that cause a class to be considered "flipped."
Flexible Mode Course – Offers multiple delivery modes so that students can choose which delivery mode(s) to use for instructional and other learning purposes (e.g. HyFlex)
Often referred to as the HyFlex model, flexible mode courses offer the greatest amount of student choice. First implemented at San Francisco State University, this model offers both classroom and online options for all or most learning activities, giving students the flexibility to choose when and where they attend to the course requirements, often on a weekly basis.
Online Course – All course activity is completed online; there are no required face-to-face sessions within the course and no requirements for on-campus activity.
There are no geographical limitations in online courses. They are designed so that students can complete all aspects of the course away from campus. These courses require well-developed materials that are accessible in the learning management system, as well as clear and consistent communication from the instructor. There are varying degrees of technological expectations associated with online courses, which should be clearly communicated to students before the course begins.