Moving from face-to-face to hybrid delivery using Moodle™

Blended learning is the combination of face-to-face and online instruction in a way that fosters community and improves learning. Successful blended learning happens when technology and instruction inform and support each other while engaging students of all learning styles and abilities in the learning process. In today’s blog post we’ll introduce one process for developing a hybrid course.

The process

Most courses have three things in common: objectives/outcomes course content and activities. Knowing the structure of a course helps you organize and then break down the structure into the pieces you’ll need to redesign for a blended version. While these course features do not change in the blended classroom understanding which content and activities to use in the face-to-face or online portion becomes important during the redesign phase. Let’s look at the actual process of converting a course from face-to-face only to a blended delivery.

  1. Review the outcomes – By reviewing where you want your students to end up you can make sure that the redesign focuses on teaching strategies rather than on the technology. For example you want students to be able to write but your design focuses on using a blogging platform rather than giving more direction on the writing process itself.
  2. Identify learning items for conversion – Map the activities you are using or would like to use to help students achieve the skills and knowledge determined by the outcomes. Don’t worry at this point if the activity is online or face to face you’ll figure that out next.
  3. Online or Face-to-Face – Now that you have your activities listed identify ones that you would like to move online. This is different for each facilitator and course as there are some activities given a changed circumstance could be done differently. For example a lecture about a difficult to understand subject might be better done face-to-face so students can ask and receive immediate feedback to questions rather than as a posted online video (although recording the session and posting it later would work for those who missed the class). We’ll discuss which activities work best online or face-to-face in a moment.
  4. Rewrite activities and content – As one of the last steps in the re-design process you will need to look at the current activities and rework them so they fit the delivery mode you have chosen for them. For example a debate you have held face-to-face typically has been converted to an online discussion so you will need to reword the instructions for students to understand what is expected of them in the online environment including posting requirements deadlines feedback instructions etc.

What works where

Rather than letting the activities become a stumbling block to transitioning into a blended format determine which activities work best for your classroom whether that is online or for face-to-face instruction. You will need to make sure that the activities support the objectives but also integrate welltogether. For example if you offer course content online before a face-to-face meeting make sure that the students become familiar with it prior to classroom time. Additionally what works in one mode may also work in another depending upon circumstances. The key is to ask:

  • What activity would work better online particularly those activities I know aren’t working well in my classroom?
  • How does the student interact with the content other students in the course and with me?

So let’s take a moment and consider some common activities you may use in your classroom and where they may land best for delivery. Notice that some of the activities can happen both online and face-to-face.

Face to Face

  • Discussions
  • Syllabus
  • Essays
  • Tests
  • Lecture
  • Group collaborations
  • Readings
  • Lab work

Online

  • Discussions
  • Course information
  • Essays
  • Quizzes
  • Tutorials
  • Small group collaboration
  • Course materials including multimedia
  • Independent projects or work
  • Simulations

Best practices and tips

When developing or teaching blended courses keep the following best practices in mind:

  • If teaching a complex topic you may want to consider having the lecture portion in a face to face meeting so that you are on hand to clear up any misunderstandings immediately.
  • The online and face to face portions need to work together so that they build connections between the content and the activities regardless of where they take place.
  • Participation in a hybrid course can be a tricky thing. If you plan on using participation as a portion of the students’ grade make sure you are clear as to what participation entails and for which part of the course online or face to face.
  • When students meet during class time it’s a great opportunity for group work debate case studies or other active learning strategies.
  • Time is precious and we never seem to have enough without reinventing the wheel each semester. Therefore try using existing resources as a starting place for course content rather than creating all new online content yourself. You can always create your own content as needed.
  • Take advantage of the training offered by your institution. You may have the opportunity to learn new skills or refresh existing ones like using the Joule Gradebook Joule Reports adding resources and activities.

For more in-depth instruction on course design register for our Getting Started with Online Course Design online training course. This course introduces participants to best practices for online course design and provides an Online Course Planning Document to use while planning and designing online courses. This course focuses on course design and is not platform specific; therefore it is relevant to all users no matter the system participants plan to use for delivering courses.

Happy re-designing!

~Tara

Carl

Carl

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