“Whether in person or online the emotional power of our subject and its human connection is an important part of what we teach. This means that face-to-face instruction will always have a deep value and that even in an online classroom the art of teaching will still be at a premium”(Bowen, 2012, p. 239).
You might be able to find endless course subjects online but will you find a teacher that knows you as more than just a name? There are some things that are not available in an online course. Creating personal relationships with teachers or students is one of them. What about building bonds with your peers? Online courses offer multiple opportunities to do group projects and collaborations but with so many courses online it can be a revolving door of new peers.
This is where the hybrid course fits in. It combines the increasing demands for online learning with the benefits of face-to-face instructional time.
Being an instructor is a social experience to me. I enjoy getting to know all my students. I want to find out about their learning styles and what teaching techniques work for them. Lecturing is not an ideal way to connect to your students. Lecturing is a way to deliver subject matter and a poor way at best. “… the assumption that traditional classrooms are stimulating and congenial learning environments brimming over with interpersonal empathy and intellectual energy, while online classrooms are lonely and isolated, needs hard scrutiny” (Brookfield, 2015, p.170). I feel that hybrid courses are the answer we are looking for. A hybrid course offers you the option to deliver your subject matter online with voiceover PowerPoints or videos, this helps to free up classroom time to focus on group discussions, assignments, and creating personal bonds with your students. I have been instructing part time for three years, I am always learning, always changing and exploring new things. I know that information and technology is always changing too. As an instructor, my job is to deliver the most up to date content, in the most engaging and motivating ways. This means staying current, doing research, understanding my students, and probably most important being flexible to changing with the times.
Times are changing and so are our students. They need to have a reason to come to class, especially if it is something they can do at home. With a hybrid course, you can get the best of both worlds. In the Article, How to Successfully Teach a Blended Classroom, by Taunya Tremblay, she explains, “While you remain an expert and important source of instruction for your students, you may find your role shift to more of a learning facilitator.” Isn’t that the goal of a learner centred instructor? Be a facilitator, a mentor. My goal is to use classroom time to answer questions and help students work through their assignments, to facilitate their learning.
My program is designed with theory and clinical courses. We do our best to use online resources like Moodle, to share articles, PowerPoints and have group discussions. We have also started to post our clinic demonstrations online as a resource for students to use at home. If classes are missed or students are struggling, they have access to these videos whenever they want.
With more new, young, and enthusiastic instructors joining our faculty the goals to change to a hybrid course are in the future. This is the first year we have used Moodle for more than just student’s grades. I know that these are just the first steps in changing to a hybrid course, it is not an easy process. It takes lots of planning and organizing and I don’t think it’s something you can do overnight. We have a long ways to go, but from what I have read in Teach Naked by Bowen, it is a slow, time-consuming process, but the benefits to our students are worth the work.
Bowen, J.A. (2012). Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tremblay, T. (2016, February 2nd). How to Successfully Teach a Blended Classroom. Retrieved from https://blog.tophat.com/blended-classroom/
Brookfield, S. D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.