Hybrid Courses

Defining Hybrid Courses

HybridHybrid courses can follow a number of different models. The model we’ve piloted at Oak Hills is along the lines of a blocked schedule. For example, a student’s first bell may look like this:

  • Monday and Thursday: English 1
  • Tuesday and Friday: World History
  • Wednesday is a study hall where teachers are available for office hours (virtual or otherwise).

Students see their teachers face to face twice a week and complete the rest of their work online.

My Role in Hybrid Courses

I meet regularly with hybrid teachers to help them develop their courses. The areas we most focus on are:

  1. Principles of Effective Design (see this portfolio object)
  2. Use of Moodle (which can be quirky at times)
  3. Project development. Because teachers often have higher number of students, we develop more group worked based projects to help with the amount of grading.
  4. Flipped classroom concepts
  5. Google Apps
  6. Exploring new technologies (for example: Google Voice, Plus, etc.)

Observations of a First Year Pilot

The 2011/2012 school year is a pilot year for Hybrid World History, English 1, Sociology, and Intro to Engineering. We’re still evaluating how the courses are going, but we’ve noted a few key observations.

Hybrid Courses are Different

This might seem obvious, but to students who are used to doing school the way we do school, it was a definite adjustment. Some students are more comfortable with this, others not. Those who weren’t had the option to drop the hybrid and join a regular brick and mortar class.

There is a direct correlation between time logged into a course and a student’s grade.

Again, this might seem obvious. The beauty of Moodle is that you can pull log files of students. We are very clear with our students about how much time their hybrid or online classes will require. If students are logging in on a daily basis, they generally get good grades. If they don’t meet those time requirements, their grade suffers.

Hybrid courses are getting better grades on common assessments.

We’re seeing 10 to 15 percentage points higher grades on common assessments. While we’re not comfortable (yet) to say this is a consistent trend (not enough data), it is very interesting. I should also point out that we’re not (at least yet) comfortable saying hybrid courses are the cause of higher grades (there is a process of self-selection by students), but we’re closely monitoring these data points.

Part of the beauty of online learning as that you shift more of the responsibility of learning back to the student. It doesn’t work for every student, but it does work for many.

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