Topic: First-Year Learnings by Hybrid/Online Instructors, May 6, 2015


Practical Tips for Online/Hybrid Teaching

Course Design and Course Site Development

  • Design the learning so that it is distributed in location and time. Remind students it is not self-paced in nature.

  • Use learning outcomes as foundation for the course design. Think about how the outcomes can be interpreted on a topic or unit level or weekly timeline.

  • Plan for contingencies around student personal emergencies so that students know how to deal with late or missed work.

  • Use Sakai formatting for text content. Microsoft Word formatting is inherited when text is copied/pasted into Sakai.

  • Create an intensive week schedule that includes interactivity and community building, in addition to instruction (lecture) time.

  • Ask students for suggestions on how to improve the course.


  • Forum discussions through posts and replies can be either required or optional, or graded via a rubric or ungraded, depending on the roster size, the desired learning outcomes, and number of teaching assistants, if any.

  • Form student teams to help structure the conversations: whose post to read, when to reply, or to define the number of required replies.

  • (See other attachment for more about Andy’s conversation model.)

Readings and Assignments

  • Use different criteria for selecting readings for online/hybrid courses, i.e. type of reading, frequency of assigned reading, number of pages.

  • Communicate pre-course assignments with sufficient lead time.

  • Orient students to the readings (as scaffolding) to help move them toward understanding.

  • Provide options in the types of student submissions, such as videos, narrated slides, or text. Also, consider the implications on institutional assessment.


  • Communicate clearly what is expected of students around active participation, deadlines, and graded assignments.

  • Determine what is expected of teaching assistants around moderating discussions, tracking of student participation, and grading.

  • Communicate to students whom to contact and how to request technical support, depending on the type of issue.

Use of Video/Media Gallery in Sakai

  • Build social presence in a course through video-based lectures and assessment. The medium of video allows students to have a greater sense of instructors as real and relatable.

  • Use the integrated webcam recording feature in Media Gallery to record videos on the fly and without the need to use another software or process.

  • Technology can fail, so have a back-up plan.

Zoom Videoconferencing

  • Use Zoom for periodic check ins, especially as major deadlines are approaching and when done in both small and large groups.

  • Use Zoom for weekly “embodied,” synchronous (real time) instruction, which can be recorded for later viewing.

  • Students live in different time zones. Consider this when scheduling synchronous meetings.


  1. Notes and Tips (table above), by Israel Valenzuela (pdf)
  2. Faculty Peer Training, from Andy Dreitcer (pdf)