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Alternative approaches to hybrid teaching

Last updated on 26 November 2021
With hybrid teaching, you can teach students in the classroom and at home simultaneously. Due to the pandemic, this is sometimes more of a necessity than a choice. Do you find this challenging as a teacher? And how to make optimal use of hybrid teaching? These six alternative approaches will get you started.

Hybrid teaching in a fully interactive form is quite demanding for a teacher. Besides the content and didactics of the lesson, you also need to keep an eye on the technology and the interaction with students, both in the lecture hall and online (often via chat).  It is especially important to ensure that students who follow the lesson online feel heard and seen. That may not always be possible. 

Or perhaps you want to protect yourself from the virus and not physically meet with students at all, while still encouraging them to see each other.

In other cases, the technology may not function optimally, and you’ll have to make last minute decisions on how to organise your class.

In this didactic tip, we list six tips including alternative approaches.

Tip 1: Prepare yourself well

If you are going to teach in hybrid mode, the most important tip is to prepare well. Make sure to be in the room twenty to thirty minutes in advance to start up the computer and check if everything is ready (starting up Zoom is slow because everyone is streaming Zoom to the computer at the same time). Draw inspiration from your colleagues. Or watch the video at the bottom of this page.

Tip 2: Make clear agreements about the interaction

When students connect online during the lecture, you can also choose to limit the online interaction or make clear agreements about this. It is better to create clarity than to raise high expectations (expectation management). Choose for example from (a combination of) the tips below:

  1. Indicate that you will not read the messages in the chat or turn off the chat as an option. The 'raise hand' button in Zoom is a good alternative.
  2. Ask a volunteer from the room to follow the chat and respond. Or even better: ask a student assistant to do this for you.
  3. Use Mentimeter to ask questions to all students at the same time. This way, the online students can participate without you having to divide your attention.

Tip 3: Only record

You can also choose to record the lecture without the simultaneous presence of online students. The students who cannot come to campus can then watch the recording afterwards, as with regular weblectures. This way, you can focus all your attention on the students present in the room, making that part of the teaching as successful as possible. Hybrid equipment can be used to record the lecture. Stay close to the microphone so that your voice can be heard clearly on the recording.

Tip 4: Use your own equipment

Are you not scheduled in a hybrid class, but would you still like to teach in hybrid mode? And are you somewhat tech-savvy? Use your mobile phone as a microphone, for example.  Or connect a headset to your phone or laptop, if you have one. Log into your own Zoom session with your mobile phone and your laptop, for example. Use your phone’s microphone and laptop's camera, but mute your laptop's microphone to avoid looping of the sound.

Tip 5: Teach online with students in the classroom

If, as a teacher, you are afraid of a corona infection, another option is to teach fully from home and ask a student assistant to support the students in the classroom. Ask them to start up the classroom PC there and the Zoom session that you then log into. Also make sure that there is someone who can repeat questions from the room if necessary. This option may feel a little awkward, but it can work very well. You’ll be teaching at a distance!

Tip 6: Do everything online

Are the above options not possible for you? Then opt for fully online teaching: both you and your students are connected from home. This creates clarity for you and your students, and you’ll not have to divide your attention between the students in the lecture hall and at home.

More information

This teaching tip is provided by VU NT&L and LEARN! Academy.

Hybrid Teaching

This video demonstrates how to start up and use the equipment in hybrid classrooms and lecture halls.

Go to Canvas Online Education