Designing a Hybrid Course

Online Communication

Since much of a hybrid course's discussion and communication takes place online, students will spend much more time communicating through formal and informal writing than in traditional courses. Students will navigate a range of genres and audiences when writing in their hybrid classes. Often, students are not prepared to jump into this morass of writing conventions.

Model Online Communication

Explicitly describe and model how a student should communicate online, specifying writing conventions and audiences for the various genres, perhaps in an assessment rubric, and using those conventions in your own communication.

Example text from a hybrid course syllabus:

  • When communicating via email with other students or the course instructor, students should give a descriptive subject title for the email, including the course number, such as "BIS300 syllabus question"; they should include a salutation at the beginning of the email, such as "Hi Professor _____" or "Hello John," if the student's name were John; they should fully explain the purpose of the email and give context for any questions, so that the recipient student or instructor can respond to the email appropriately; and, finally, they should sign the email with their name, so that the recipient knows from whom the email was sent.

Similar language should be included in the syllabus for communicating via the course discussion boards. Example text for a course syllabus about discussion board posts:

Think of a discussion board post as a shortened class paper. You should:

  1. Directly respond to the discussion question(s) that the instructor or another student has posed;
  2. Have a single, clearly stated claim;
  3. Present evidence for your claim;
  4. Engage class readings and discussion board posts from other students and the instructor that have come before the post you are writing;
  5. Write as succinctly (that is, keep it as short) as possible.

Did You Know?

Forty-nine percent of UW Bothell's first year students are the first in their families to attend college.