How To Run Hybrid Classes Effectively
Teachers are usually perceived as well-educated authorities that act as role models for others, especially their students. However, this doesn't mean that they are always the alpha and omega of teaching straight away. Let's remember that every teacher was once a student.
Teachers who are passionate about their job usually pay close attention to the quality of their teaching, as well as the experience of their students. This is why they often seek tips and tricks from various sources on how to constantly improve their performance.
The focus of this article is to share with you our top tips on how to run hybrid classes effectively. If you are a teacher who is considering giving hybrid education a try, then this article is for you. Are you ready to become a master of hybrid teaching?
The emergence of hybrid education
You don't need a PhD degree to know why hybrid education is trending right now. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed in the lives of everybody, including the ways in which we teach, as well as the ways in which we are taught. Numerous social distancing and quarantine rules forced us to adapt to the rapidly changing situation very quickly.
When it comes to education, in many countries, students had to switch to entirely online learning models. Now that things are slowly going back to normal and we are more used to the new reality, it turns out that some of the online teaching methods might actually stay with us for a bit longer.
As a result, we now have something called hybrid education - a blend of in-person and online teaching, that aims to create a coherent and consistent learning plan that should benefit both students and teachers as much as possible. If you are still a bit hesitant about the attractiveness of hybrid teaching, let’s learn a bit more about the benefits before jumping to our tips and tricks.
traditional + remote teaching = best friends forever?
A great thing about hybrid teaching is that it connects the good sides of both traditional and remote teaching. In a nutshell, you get the best of both worlds.
First of all, hybrid education can significantly help improve the customisation and flexibility of classes. If you are a teacher who lives quite far away from the campus, it is great news for you. With only a proportion of classes taking place physically in a lecture hall or seminar room, you can enjoy the rest of your teaching activities from the comfort of your house. Not only does it save you time and cost spent on transportation, but you also get more time during the day to engage with your favourite non-work activities.
Second of all, despite the fact that hybrid teaching may be associated with staying home more, it actually can offer highly advanced tools and solutions that are simply not possible with in-person teaching. Things such as polls, surveys, collaboration features, engagement games and more, can be implemented to make your teaching more fun and exciting for you and your students. It’s techniques like these that usually boost the performance of both sides. Is it not a win-win scenario?
Last but not least, hybrid teaching requires teachers like you to be more considerate and intentional about the way you structure your teaching plans. Therefore, as a teacher you can enjoy facing new challenges and improve your management skills, which can positively impact your role and influence the satisfaction of your students.
Best Effective Hybrid Classes Practices: 6 Top Tips
Now that you know that hybrid teaching offers great benefits, let’s find out how to become a master at it:
#1 Strong and well thought-out teaching schedule
First things first, you need a plan. Planning the way you will approach hybrid teaching will give you a great opportunity to set yourself up for guaranteed success. Why?
When you plan ahead, you give yourself enough time to implement any changes on time, should there be a need to do that, without confusing your students. Second of all, having a clear plan will simply make your job much easier and less stressful, which will positively impact your overall performance as a teacher.
You surely don’t want to find yourself in a situation when you have to worry about how your hybrid teaching will go, on top of the already existing stress factors, like new equipment and technology, new environment and so on.
Therefore, you should definitely dedicate your time to thinking about your perfect teaching schedule. Ask yourself questions like:
- What does it look like?
- Which parts of it are online/in person?
- Will my plan benefit my students? Will it benefit me?
- Do separate parts of my teaching plan complement each other, creating a consistent narrative?
Thanks to questions like these you will be able to design the perfect strategy for hybrid teaching.
If you are not sure where to start, have a look around you first. This could include: asking your fellow teachers for some advice, or simply reaching out to your students and finding out what they consider effective. If this doesn’t help, you can also look for case studies on hybrid teaching online.
“Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail” — Benjamin Franklin
#2 Clear instructions
Once you’ve cleared your head when it comes to the management of your own planning, it is time to take care of your students. If you are implementing hybrid teaching for the very first time, the chances are that they will be even more confused and stressed out than you. This does not, however, change the fact that they still will be expecting to receive a high standard of teaching.
To ensure that both sides are satisfied and know where they stand, you will need to provide some guidance for your students. This is when clear instructions and rules, to make sure everything is in place, will come in handy.
Set expectations with your students regarding matters like:
- assessment submissions
- mandatory and voluntary classes
- extra help and office hours
- use of online learning tools and other resources
This should help make your students feel more confident and less confused about hybrid teaching. You will also benefit from this tip; having clear rules that are accessible to everyone at any time will most likely contribute to lowering the number of questions you get from your students about management issues, and will allow you to pay even more attention to course-related queries.
#3 Pay attention to engagement and react when necessary
Simply planning and setting rules at the beginning of your journey with hybrid teaching will not solely do the job. As with any other type of education, you will need to constantly track the performance of your students, and having part of the classes take place online can actually be quite the challenge.
Imagine all the temptations you, as well as your students, are exposed to. Social media, games and Netflix can easily become your enemies. It may sound silly, but we are just humans and constantly staying focused can sometimes be difficult.
The best thing you could do as a teacher is to ensure that your students engage with the course material regularly. The illusion of less classes created by some of them being online can be very deceiving, and students may not always be aware of how dangerous it can be to put off work until the last minute.
You can help them out by monitoring their engagement. Nowadays, there are smart tools out there that can automatically track how each student engages with the digital materials you give them. You can also implement some fun ways for your students to stay motivated. To ensure they engage with the course material regularly and with pleasure, try some interactive games, like Kahoot for example. People tend to care more once they realize there is a visible element of competition included, so something like that could be incredibly effective.
#4 Constantly assess your own performance
Paying attention to your own performance is as important as making sure your students are doing well. Knowing what works and what doesn't will allow you to better prepare your hybrid teaching masterplan.
Now, who can give you better feedback than your own students? Asking them for feedback should be your very first step when it comes to your own performance evaluation. Luckily for you, there are dozens of ways to do this, such as:
- surveys and polls
- open-ended feedback forms
- long-form based surveys
- suggestion boards
- designated email address for suggestions
Tip: Allowing your students to share their feedback anonymously with you will most likely encourage them to be more honest, giving you the chance to really get to know their true thoughts on your efforts.
#5 Invest in reliable tools and equipment
Deciding to have some of your course elements take place online means that you will need special tools and equipment. The key elements to start with are your computer, a camera, some headphones and a good microphone. Are they all in a good condition? If you need to purchase new ones, pay attention to important aspects such as voice and video quality, the speed of the devices, and whether or not they are travel-friendly amongst other things.
Ensuring you maintain a comfortable work environment will allow you to fully take advantage of the time you have with your students. We all know how confusing and irritating technology problems can be. You definitely do not want to find yourself in a situation when you have to spend your time fixing such problems - after all, every minute spent with your students should be fully dedicated to teaching.
Once you have that sorted out, it is time for you to find a communication platform. For example, if you plan on making a series of webinars, perhaps you should invest in a reliable webinar platform like LiveWebinar.
What should you look for when you are choosing the best tool for you and your students? Here are some of the most important aspects:
- voice and video quality
- access to engagement tools like polls, surveys and Call-To-Action buttons
- collaboration features, like breakout rooms
- accessibility and user interface
Remember that the most important thing is the comfort of you and your students.
#6 Dedicate extra time and stay motivated
As with every new experience, the first steps can be difficult. New environments, new teaching practices and maybe even faulty technology can demotivate you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though.
It is totally normal to make mistakes at the beginning of any journey, when you’re still learning. Instead, double up your energy and use it for improvement. Both you and your students will need it.
Make sure you are there for your students. It may be that some of them may choose to practice hybrid teaching out of necessity and therefore it is possible that they may find it challenging. Be there for them and offer extra guidance. Try helpful solutions like office hours, additional guidance sessions, extra help over email, FAQs, discussion boards and more.
Why LiveWebinar is the right pick for you
If any parts of your hybrid teaching include webinars, LiveWebinar is the ideal secure and reliable solution on the market . It is a cloud-based webinar platform designed to take webinars to the next level.
The tool offers great features for schools that teachers find highly valuable, like:
- engagement features (polls, surveys, Call-To-Action)
- flawless voice and video quality
- feedback collection features
- management and administration features
And many more! It even offers special packages for schools with insightful tutorials on how to approach online teaching.
To learn more about the perks of this tool, navigate to this website.
Ready to give hybrid teaching a try?
Here we are! Now you definitely are ready to begin your journey with hybrid teaching. We really hope that you find this article helpful.
With the growing demand for hybrid education, sooner or later you will probably need to implement this teaching model anyway. And guess what? With our article, you are pretty much ready to start. All you have to do is remember about our top tips - and the rest will happen automatically.
If you would like to learn more about online meetings, especially webinars and how they could assist you as a teacher, check out our blog where we share insightful knowledge.