Opportunities and Challenges

Here are some observations made by UW Bothell faculty about the opportunities and challenges of hybrid courses:


Active Learning and Student Collaboration

  • "Increased and more in-depth [student] participation leading to more active learning of content."
  • "There are also collaborative potentials that really are enhanced by asynchronous sharing online.
  • "Hybrid/online seems like a better fit for constructivism than F2F, at least sometimes."

Online Discussion and Reflection

  • "Provide ESL and other students who don't like to speak up in larger groups the opportunity to engage in discussions"
  • "Potential for more meaningful discussion, when students can take their time to read, respond and discuss/post."
  • "Potential for discussion to be more inclusive of all students, because some voices are lost in our rapid fire debates in f2f time."
  • "Students can have time to reflect in ways they may not f2f, and that is quite key."
  • "The vehicle for students who are reluctant to speak up in class but who have wonderful things to say."

Addressing Multiple Learning Styles

  • "Addressing different learning styles by using different teaching tools"

Meeting the Needs of Non-Traditional Students

  • "May allow many individuals access that would otherwise have obstacles that keep them away (e.g., juggle of jobs/home obligations; international students)"


Time management

  • "The time it will take to design the course...The time it will take to teach the course... The time it will not save teacher or learner, even though they may all sign up for the obligation because they are convinced that it will save them said time."
  • "Time to keep up with [discussion board] posts and their posted work... Planning time"

New kind of pedagogy for hybrid courses

  • "Reconceptualizing how to accomplish learning objectives"
  • "I am concerned about selecting the appropriate activities for online and face to face work."

Technology Concerns

  • "I am technologically challenged; I fear I will not learn enough to take advantage of the various options available."

Proliferation of Online Learning Platforms

  • "One major challenge... is a stable foundation for the online elements of a course. From Ning [social network platform] to pbworks [wiki platform] to Blackboard to Catalyst, there needs to be synthesis and consistency."

Observations from other institutions

The University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee provides an excellent introduction to developing a hybrid course, including testimonials from faculty members about how hybrid courses benefited themselves and their students. Here are some of the comments from their faculty:

  • "My students have done better than I've ever seen; they are motivated, enthused, and doing their best work."
  • "Introverts, who are quiet in the face-to-face class, really participate online."
  • "Discussions are good, both in and out of class."
  • "This gets so much more student interaction."
  • "The hybrid allowed me to do things in my course that I've always wanted to do and couldn't."
  • "Students think the they are learning more, and I think they're learning more."
  • "Hybrid is the best of both worlds."
  • "Give it a try once. I think people owe it to their educational mission of being a teacher and instructor to try one hybrid course."

Getting Help

Designing a hybrid course anew, or redesigning a previously taught course for the hybrid format, will undoubtedly take a significant amount of time and, more significantly, it will take rethinking one's course design process. To support faculty undertaking this design process, we have developed the Hybrid Course Development Institute.