Faculty See Hybrid Teaching as Opportunity for Innovation

Masked student
Swarna Basu

September 02, 2020

Over the summer, Susquehanna University’s Center for Teaching and Learning prepared faculty to teach for a semester unlike any that had come before it. 

The Summer Institute for Hybrid and Remote Learning trained faculty in all the design principles and best practices for teaching a successful hybrid or online course, as well as provided guidance in applicable technologies and pedagogical practices, said Matthew Duperon, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Faculty say the training has provided them a unique opportunity to reimagine their course offerings in the age of coronavirus.

“This training has given us a strong foundation in the best practices for delivering hybrid and remote instruction in the highest quality,” said Swarna Basu, professor of chemistry. “Faculty have been given the opportunity to innovate and reimagine and get creative with our courses.”

As much of his teaching is a result of commenting on student work, Ed Slavishak, professor of history, said he will be offering that feedback via video.

“Comments can seem to fly away and never return. It’s hard to know just what students are taking to heart,” Slavishak said. “After providing video comments, I will expect students to respond in kind. A hybrid model of teaching allows you to pay attention to those kinds of exchanges.”

Jennifer Carter, assistant professor of physics, will be using tools that require her students to annotate their reading material before coming to class in an effort to increase retention and understanding. She will also use the video tools she learned from the Summer Institute to present material coupled with quiz questions.

“This helps to keep students engaged and it also will let them know what they need to focus their study on,” Carter said. “It also lets me know what I need to focus on or readdress during class.

“I’m looking forward to applying the skills I gained through the rigorous training I received to deliver some really great classes to my in-person and remote learners,” Carter said.

As part of the Summer Institute, faculty completed five core modules, plus four self-selected modules applicable to their teaching situations in the fall, followed by a final wrap-up module conducted as a live video conference session.

“As a student myself I was always interested in connecting class material to the world outside the classroom and the Summer Institute helped me amplify that,” Slavishak said. “What does that mean? That means courses that are more connected to the world and the social, cultural and political moment we live in right now. Hybrid learning allows more voices to be heard because time in class is just part of a course’s wider landscape.”

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