Preparing a Course for Hybrid Delivery

The following steps will help you start thinking about your hybrid course approach and guide you to resources for successful implementation.

  1. Prepare Yourself for Hybrid Delivery: Instructors teaching in CMU’s hybrid format are required to complete both the self-paced Fundamentals of Blackboard workshop. Additional trainings and workshops are recommended to expand your knowledge and use of Blackboard.
  2. Review the Master Course Syllabus and Other Example Teaching Syllabi: As you think about the course learning objectives, which objectives would be better achieved online and which would be best achieved in your on-the-ground course?
  3. Review the Online Master Course Shell: Hybrid teaching is not just a matter of transferring a portion of your traditional on-the-ground course to the Web. Instead it involves developing challenging and engaging online learning activities that complement your on-the-ground course activities. When available, CMU offers hybrid course instructors access to the full course shell for the equivalent online course. Which of these online learning activities do you think would fit well for your hybrid course?
    • If you have not yet received the Online Master Course Shell, contact
  4. Check Your Tech Knowledge and Skills: Online asynchronous (i.e., participants are not online at the same time) discussion tools are often important parts of hybrid course instruction. In addition, you may want to host live virtual class sessions via WebEx. What new learning opportunities and challenges will arise as a result of using these approaches? 
  5. Focus on the Big Picture: How will the on-the-ground and online components of your hybrid course be integrated into a single seamless course? In other words, how will the work  In other words, how will the work done in each component feedback into and support the other? It is important that students understand your expectations for their on-the-ground and online activities, including how these contribute to their final grade. Make sure you outline the course clearly in your syllabus.
    • Faculty Partners – To request individualized support from a peer instructor, contact
  6. Consider Your Students and Their Needs: Students new to the hybrid format may have anxiety about the online learning portion of your course. In addition, students sometimes have problems navigating Blackboard, scheduling their work, and managing their time with online assignments. What do you plan to do to help your students address these issues and effectively facilitate their learning?
    • CMU Centers – Staff at the centers may be able to provide some advice on student expectations and preparation for hybrid delivery.
    • Online Allies – The Allies are experienced, successful online students who can provide assistance to students who encounter challenges navigating online course components.
  7. Check Their Tech: Students sometimes have difficulty acclimating to the course Blackboard shell and to other instructional technologies you may be using for on-the-ground and online activities. What specific technologies will you use for the online and on-the-ground portions of your course? What proactive steps can you take to assist students to become familiar with your Blackboard course shell and any other incorporated instructional technologies?
  8. Communicate Your Plan: Hybrid courses require a minimum of 24 in-class, face-to-face contact hours in order to meet CMU accreditation standards (this minimum may vary from state-to-state). Typically, weeknight courses will meet six face-to-face sessions and weekend courses will meet two face-to-face weekends. Make sure your course syllabus and any other supporting materials (e.g., in Blackboard) clearly include the course plan, meeting dates, and online requirements.
    • CMU Centerscommunicate your course plan to your Center Program Administrator at least 60 days prior to the course start date.
    • Faculty Partnerscontact for individualized support
  9. Practice with a Colleague: It is one thing to thoughtfully prepare your course, but another to view the course from the perspective of your students. Consider enrolling a CMU Faculty Partner or trusted colleague in your course and use them as a student to practice a web conferencing session, try out grading or rubric structures, and ask them to look for obvious stumbling blocks as they navigate the course.
    • Faculty Partnerscontact for individualized support
  10. Commit to Continual Assessment: No one gets it perfectly right the first time (or oftentimes even the second) as the various factors that go into any course change frequently. If you have taught this course in other formats, review your student feedback (EOC reports) and consider how your past experiences can inform your hybrid delivery. Also, consider how you will seek and use feedback during this course.

References: Blended Learning Toolkit,; and UWMilwaukee,