What is hybrid teaching?

Hybrid teaching is an educational model in which some students attend a lecture or seminar in-person as normal, while others join virtually from home. Lecturers therefore teach remote and in-person students at the same time using tools like Teams or Zoom, alongside the full range of digital tools at Oxford. As a variation, lecturers may also work remotely to deliver sessions to students in a classroom and online.

There are numerous variations in hybrid delivery, usually around the amount of equipment in play. These resources aim to explain these variations, highlight benefits and challenges and provide an informed guide to making choices and selecting tools to use in hybrid teaching.

In some cases, hybrid events might include asynchronous learning elements, including online exercises and pre-recorded video materials, to support face-to-face classroom sessions – many of us have significant recent experience of this process, using Panopto and Canvas to make lectures available.

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Should I be looking at hybrid?

A hybrid approach will not solve problems of student accessibility to quality learning and teaching opportunities. Careful consideration should be given before you undertake hybrid teaching.

However, the University does recognise there are occasions when you may consider adopting hybrid teaching in response to specific issues. For example, providing students with ongoing access to teaching and learning that would otherwise be disrupted due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly where they are unable to travel to the UK.

Achieving a good student experience through a hybrid teaching session is not easy and typically requires:

  • Multi-tasking by the teacher – hybrid is not conducive to a stress-free experience!
  • Help – you will undoubtedly need support to monitor the chat and help remote students.
  • Re-design – you will need to re-design sessions to consider both audiences.
  • Kit – you will need additional IT equipment in the classroom (eg cameras and mics).
  • Confidence – you will need strong technical skills and be confident – things will go wrong and the ability to resolve problems on the spot is essential.
  • Time – planning and set up is very time-consuming.

Is anyone doing this at Oxford already?

Yes, there are several examples of hybrid teaching at Oxford, including:

Where do I start?

Centre for Teaching and Learning

The Centre for Teaching and Learning provides advice and support on the use of technology in teaching. The Planning and presenting a hybrid teaching session page includes resources on:

  • Planning a hybrid session
  • Tips on running a hybrid session
  • Hybrid lectures
  • Challenges of hybrid
  • Technical guidance
  • Examples of Hybrid teaching at Oxford

For more detailed support, please contact us.

IT Services

IT Services is running the Improvements to Hybrid Teaching Facilities Project to help safeguard the University’s ability to support teaching and learning for those attending a session either in person or remotely. This will entail:

  • Equipping and upgrading a number of rooms with enhanced AV provision to support Hybrid teaching. 
  • CTL providing support for lecturers using Hybrid tools – this will include publishing Hybrid teaching guides, regular webinars, workshops and 1-to-1 support.

Local support

There is also local support available to you. 
I want to start now – can I deliver Hybrid sessions in local teaching spaces?

Observations from recent pilot study at Oxford

A recent pilot study at Oxford concluded:

  • The acoustic environment can be very different from room to room depending on the room surfaces, layout and the physical dimensions of the spaces.
  • Hybrid installations will have to respond to the specific pedagogic requirements of each teaching space within specific acoustic characteristics.
  • Each lecturer will teach differently. How can the hybrid installation adapt to different pedagogic practices in the same physical space?
  • The pilot study suggests there are at least three modes of pedagogic interactivity that require different AV/IT responses:
  • Lecture mode
  • Discussion mode
  • Breakout/group work mode
  • The AV/IT hybrid installations can be complex to operate for teaching staff. Professional development will be critical if the AV/IT equipment are to be used effectively.
  • A fully virtual component before in-person instruction begins that should continue weekly to help everyone get to know each other’s faces and bridge the gap between in-person and remote students.
  • Remote students did not have a lesser learning experience—students could hear well and appreciated asynchronous access to online materials, including class recordings.
  • Remote students and in-person students were siloed; there were no virtual social experiences and no small group work between in-person and remote students to foster friendships. Try to foster the latter, even outside of the formal lecture time.
  • A TA could be remote: The support of a virtual teaching staff member is ideal; this person experiences the space as a remote student would, and thus can better support their needs, while also helping the in-person teacher direct the class.

Links to what are other institutions are doing?

Published research on hybrid teaching

  • Austin, Andrea, et al. “COVID‐19 Educational Innovation: Hybrid In‐Person and Virtual Simulation for Emergency Medicine Trainees.” AEM Education and Training, 2021, pp. 2021–03. [access article]
  • Koskinen, Michael. Understanding the Needs of Adult Graduate Students: An Exploratory Case Study of a Hyflex Learning Environment. PhD Thesis, Northeastern University, 2018. [access article]
  • Raes, Annelies, et al. “A Systematic Literature Review on Synchronous Hybrid Learning: Gaps Identified.” Learning Environments Research, vol. 23, no. 3, 2019, pp. 269–290. [access article]
  • Raes, Annelies, et al. “Learning and Instruction in the Hybrid Virtual Classroom: An Investigation of Students’ Engagement and the Effect of Quizzes.” Computers and Education, vol. 143, 2020, p. 103682. [access article] 
  • Singh S, Arya A. "A Hybrid flipped-classroom approach for online teaching of biochemistry in developing countries during Covid-19 crisis." Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, vol. 48, 2020, pp. 502–503. [access article]
  • Skulmowski, Alexander, and Günter Daniel Rey. “COVID ‐19 as an Accelerator for Digitalization at a German University: Establishing Hybrid Campuses in Times of Crisis.” Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, vol. 2, no. 3, 2020, pp. 212–216.  [access article]

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