Teaching on campus will gradually return during autumn semester of 2021, but during the transition we may need solutions such as hybrid teaching, where some of your students are on site in a lecture room and some participate online. Some students may have reasons to remain online for longer than others. In addition, it is a good tool to have at your disposal for situations where your students are in many different locations around the world.
With hybrid teaching we can solve problems that can occur in the transition from online teaching to campus teaching.
Hybrid teaching or Blended Learning?
Hybrid teaching is sometimes confused with blended learning, but these are two different concepts.
Hybrid means that students are present both online and on site in a lecture hall at the same time, blended means that you use different types of teaching formats (online and on campus) during an entire course. Hybrid teaching can be the solution to a problem caused by Covid-19 and Blended Learning is a pedagogical approach. Many of us will have reason to do both in this time of transition.
Hybrid teaching – strategies according to size
Hybrid teaching is not without challenges and there are many potential technical stumbling blocks. But you can make it easier on yourself by considering how extensive it needs to be and how much of the situation in the lecture room you need to share. One way of visualising this is to think of teaching in one of three sizes: Small, Medium or Large.
If you hold a seminar in which you discuss a text or other material with a small group of students (up to 10-15 is a common limit for the seminar format), it is relatively simple to have some of them participate remotely by using a conference camera with a built-in room microphone.
It is crucial to have a good microphone and loudspeaker so that everyone can hear; this is often more important than good image quality. There are a few different models: an elongated unit with a camera, speaker and microphone combined with a screen is a common solution; another is a slightly smaller portable camera/speaker/microphone in the form of 30 cm-long tube (sometimes similar to a Thermos flask) that you connect to a computer and to a projector in the seminar room. If you can set these up so that everyone can see, it usually works without any problems in a small group around a seminar table in a small room with no need to show slides.
In a lecture hall, it is more difficult to achieve good sound and image quality. In the medium scenario, your primary aim is for everyone to be able to hear what is said in the lecture. You set up a camera and a microphone, of the same type as the portable equipment in the small scenario and with a computer that can handle Zoom, so that the students who are participating via Zoom can see and hear the lecturer. In this case, it is important to have good sound quality as that is the most important element here. If you want to show slides, the simplest solution is to distribute your PowerPoint as a PDF via Canvas well in advance of the lecture. An attentive lecturer may also take questions from the Zoom participants, but if so make sure to inform them about procedure (in the chat window or by raising their hand), or whether it will not be possible to ask questions. You should not underestimate the difficulty of giving a lecture while keeping an eye on a Zoom meeting and the students in the room at the same time.
If you want your lecture to be experienced by the online students and the students in attendance on site as equally as possible, you need an assistant to deal with the technology. This means that there must be two teaching staff members at each lecture. One holds the lecture as usual while the other takes care of the Zoom meeting. If you show a PowerPoint presentation, the other lecturer needs to have the same PowerPoint on their computer and be prepared to switch between showing the lecturer and sharing the screen with the PowerPoint, as well as moving through the slides in the PowerPoint as the speaker does. The other lecturer also has the task of passing on questions from the Zoom meeting to the lecture room, by reading them aloud. The students need to be encouraged to ask questions in writing via the chat window.
Most universities are considering how to handle hybrid teaching during the coming semester. For example, the university of Gothenburg has published a guide to hybrid teaching if you would like another perspective on this issue.
A more systematic review of advantages and disadvantages of hybrid teaching can be found in “A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified” by Raes et al. This review points out that hybrid teaching makes it possible to easily engage experts outside the university, attract students that for different reasons are unable to be present on campus and facilitate widening participation at universities. At the same time there are a lot of issues with hybrid teaching for both students and teachers. A general conclusion is that hybrid teaching needs to be thoroughly planned with the learning objectives in mind, and not by blindly looking at the technique itself.
Raes, A., Detienne, L., Windey, I. and F. Depaepe (2020) “A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified”, Learning Environments Research, 23, 269–290. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-019-09303-z
The technical conditions for hybrid teaching vary between the university's different premises. If you need support, contact your local IT unit or LU Service Desk:
Phone: 046-222 90 00
servicedesk [at] lu [dot] se
Opening hours: Monday-Friday, 8-17