Hybrid instruction combines face to face classes with synchronous online learning to allow social distancing and provide some of the benefits of a face to face course.

Hybrid Instruction Defined

Hybrid courses are taught synchronously in person and online. The internet-delivered components may include teaching and learning activities. These components reduce the time traditionally spent in the face-to-face portion of the class.

This kind of hybrid model is essentially the Hybrid-Flexible Course Design (Hyflex). Dr. Brian J. Beatty, author of Hybrid-Flexible Course Design, describes HyFlex as “multi-modal courses which combine online and on ground (classroom-based) students.” The goal of the approach is to successfully serve all students with a limited set of resources (time, faculty, & space). The HyFlex approach gives students flexibility in their method of participation from session to session, creating their own unique experience.

Read more about Hybrid-Flexible Course Design

According to the Office of Academic Affairs, a Hybrid Course is taught as a blend of F2F, interactive A/V (e.g., Zoom) and internet methods described in this guide. In all cases, these courses provide a weekly opportunity for face-to-face instruction for every enrolled student. This standard might be achieved through rotating attendance (required or voluntary), whereby a fraction (e.g., one-third to one-half) of the students attend in-person on a rotating schedule according to the class meeting schedule. Faculty may choose to hold either a synchronous interactive A/V or recorded class session will be promptly available to students who did not attend any face-to-face session. Further, faculty/instructors choosing only to provide recorded class sessions for students not participating in any face-to-face session will provide at least one weekly opportunity for an interactive A/V meeting (e.g., office hours) with students. Individualized face-to-face meetings or interactive A/V meetings between students and faculty/instructors are encouraged but not required. The overall workload of the class must be the same as it would be if the class was delivered in the traditional face-to-face format. Normally, 30%-50% face-to-face teaching and learning activities are expected.

Lecture & Answering Questions 

Lecture may be relatively easy to manage, as long as any visual aids (e.g., PowerPoint slides, whiteboard notes, working through problems) are easily seen by both audiences. Record class sessions in order to accommodate any student who may experience internet connectivity issues or who may not be able to attend the live session. Keep in mind that students may be scattered across various time zones. 

Set expectations about how students should ask questions during a lecture. If possible, ask a student to manage the chat window. Take breaks in the lecture at least every 20 minutes. It is difficult for students to focus on a video (live or recorded) longer than that. Use the breaks to check in and address any questions or comments from both the physically present and remote students via chat window. 

Zoom for EducationZoom trainer shares her experience designing and teaching hybrid and online courses
Collaborate Ultra
Teaching and Presenting Tool Comparison Chart
Electronic Whiteboard Options

Discussion & Discussion Boards 

A key consideration with discussions is how to ensure that all students are able to participate in equivalent ways, regardless of course delivery. Some suggestions would include keeping attention on the online students’ questions or comments during large group discussion. Using a videoconferencing tool that allows you to break virtual students into groups is a key tool to hold paired or small group discussions. If students in the classroom have laptops, you could mix face-to-face and online students in breakout groups using Breakout Rooms in Collaborate Ultra or Zoom. For asynchronous discussions, try Flipgrid, which allows discussion that includes audio and video. 

Collaborate Ultra Breakout Rooms
Zoom Breakout Rooms
Blackboard Discussion Boards

Group Projects 

Consider if you should assign group work based on students’ location. It could be easier to ask students who attend the campus session on the same days to work together. Students, particularly remote students, will need to understand how to use Box, One Drive, or other file-sharing options to co-create content. If there are student presentations, consider the impact if some students are face-to-face while others are remote and choose an appropriate format such as Flipgrid. 

Box Cloud Storage
Using Zoom for Presentations

Games and Polls 

Including games, particularly ones that students can use phones or computers to play, can be a great way to bring the class together as a single learning community. Using the polls feature in Collaborate Ultra or Zoom can keep students engaged and assess understanding. You can also build quizzes and activities in free tools available online to engage students.

Collaborate Ultra
Zoom Polling

Tracking Student Attendance

Using the Blackboard Attendance Tool
Collaborate Ultra Attendance Reporting
View Zoom meeting participant details
View Panopto Session Statistics for participation information
Online Polling with PointSolutions
Blackboard Retention Center

Ensure Course Material Security

When making course content available online, it’s important to know who has the ability to access and download those course materials. Review these tips to enhance the security of your course materials.


You can use Blackboard tests to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students. Hybrid instructors can use online tests so that everyone is tested in the same way, whether in class or at home. Have in-class students bring laptops for synchronous testing, or allow all students to take the test within a specified period of time. Best practices for testing include:

  • Share our Testing Tips for Students with your class to help them avoid typical technical problems.
  • Prepare a practice test, in Blackboard, that has similar types of questions and settings to graded tests for your course.
  • We do not encourage the use of the Force Completion test option. Any issues with Internet connectivity can cause the student’s test attempt to submit before they have completed the test.
  • Be aware that Blackboard has a 3-hour inactivity time limit. Ask students to save their answers after answering each question, and save essay questions frequently to avoid timeout
  • A Submission Report shows after students submit their test. You may ask the student to print or email you a screen capture of the report in case of a technical issue.

Blackboard Test Security

  • When creating or editing a question, there is a Randomize Answers checkbox for question types with multiple options.
  • Utilize these settings in Test Options:
    • Set a timer for the test.
    • If using a timer, turn on Auto-Submit.
    • Use Display After and Display Until to control when the test link is available to students. Note: It does not have to be available for the duration of the test. If the test should last from 9AM-10AM, and your link is also available, students can start the test at 9:59 AM.
    • Uncheck all boxes under Feedback to Students to show only the score after an attempt.
    • Check the option to Randomize Questions.

For more test security, you may use Respondus Lockdown Browser & Monitor. Respondus Lockdown Browser closes all computer programs while testing in Blackboard. Respondus Monitor is an add-on feature that requires students to use a webcam while testing to remotely proctor the assessment.

Ensure Access

Accessible course content makes it easier for everyone to read and access your materials and can help improve overall quality and usability. Visit the Accessibility Resources page for more in-depth guidance on how to create accessible documents, images, audio, video, and web content or contact the technology accessibility team for help.

Class Meetings:  Requirements + Best Practices

  • Record and livestream all classes. This will allow for academic continuity for instructors and students who may not be able to attend in-person for health or quarantine reasons.  
  • Balance the need for face-to-face meetings with reduced seat capacity.
    • Maintain a minimum social distance of 6 feet or more. In large lecture halls, some seats will be blocked or physical separation will be installed to promote distancing. In smaller classrooms, desks should be spread out to preserve an appropriate distance.
    • Divide students into groups sized to fit in your classroom according to the Registrar’s Social Distancing Classroom Capacities documentation.
    • Assign one portion of the students attend in person one class meeting while the others attend virtually, switching so all students attend in both capacities where possible. 
    • Provide lectures to students to watch before class time. Meet with small groups of students during class time. 
  • All individuals present in class are required to wear face coverings. 
  • Clean classroom equipment.
    • Disinfectant wipes will be provided in the classroom or a nearby location so instructors and students may clean their work surface before class begins. Cleaning spray will be available for disinfecting classroom technology components.