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Teaching Modalities

Our goal at UCR is to provide engaging and inclusive in-person teaching experiences for our diverse student population. But we are also beginning to explore new modalities that are gaining popularity. While there are some common characteristics across all modalities, these new teaching frames are still developing community-wide common definitions.

What do these teaching modalities offer UCR students and instructors? You can teach using a combination of live streaming, in-person and online teaching, synchronous and asynchronous. This can give you, your teaching assistants, and your students the opportunity to benefit from an array of digital media and technologies both inside and outside of class. They are also compatible with teaching in our new RISE classrooms.

Note: Please check with your Department Chair and/or the Faculty Senate to determine if additional approvals are needed for teaching with hybrid or online modalities.

  • Definitions
    • Dual Mode - This is synonymous with Hybrid/Blended in the general literature. At UCR we are using Hybrid rather than Dual Mode. They can also be umbrella terms used interchangeably to include HyFlex and Flipped teaching modalities.
    • Hybrid/Blended - The course combines teaching in-person and online. 
    • HyFlex - The class is made up of some number of in-person students and some number of entirely remote students. Instructors will provide online students with some asynchronous content (e.g., recorded videos or lectures), but the quality must match what was provided to in- person students. Instructors must also offer opportunities for interaction and engagement for their online students. This will require a thoughtful course design.
    • Flipped - A lecture course with multiple discussion sections may be “flipped” to deliver the lecture material remotely, while some discussion sections meet in person and/or remotely. The Lecture may be offered in-person or remote-only. In this case, instructors should work to synchronize the delivery of material and make remote and in-person dates clear in their communications with students. This approach can accommodate situations in which some TAs need to teach remotely. It can also be used when you need to make an emergency pivot.
  • Resources
  • Hybrid/Blended
    • What is it?
      • “‘Hybrid Learning,’ also referred to as ‘Blended Learning,’ combines traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning.”1 Hybrid/Blended learning “is traditionally thought of as a blend of media or technologies allowing for a blend of modalities of learning, face-to-face and online, potentially leading to a reduction in face-to-face seat time in class.” 2 Flipped, HyFlex, and Dual Mode approaches are forms of Hybrid/Blended learning that incorporate online instruction with face-to-face (F2F) instruction in specific ways or to varying degrees. Unless a hybrid course follows the HyFlex model, instructors of hybrid courses typically decide how and when students complete or participate in activities either synchronously or asynchronously, either in-person or online, or through some combination of these.
    • Why use it?
      • Hybrid/Blended approaches often come with increased access and flexibility that can lead to greater student retention. Additionally, instructors can leverage “the best of both online and onsite instruction to meet the needs of students.” Integration of online technologies allows instructors to more effectively use digital resources, reserving class-time for face-to-face interactions, where active learning strategies that incorporate hands-on practice or synchronous collaboration can result in higher levels of student engagement and academic achievement.
    • Successful implementation
      • “Consider student-centered, active learning pedagogies.”
      • “Focus on closing the loop through the integration of learning environments.”
      • “Scaffold the student experience through the course.”
      • Think strategically “to carefully align the learning objectives with the instructional modality and technologies that are most effective for students.”
      • Quality conceptualization of blended learning as the F2F and online components could be integrated in a thoughtful, complementary way
  • HyFlex
    • What is it?
      • The hybrid flexible, or HyFlex, course format is an instructional approach that combines face-to-face (F2F) and online learning. Each class session and learning activity is offered in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online. Students can decide—for each class or activity—how to participate. (Educause Learning Initiative)
    • Why use it?
      • Normal operations on college and university campuses can be threatened by the effects of climate change, natural disasters (including hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes), health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and other disruptions. Instructors using HyFlex could maintain instructional continuity during such disturbances. When campuses reopen, they can face a range of uncertainties surrounding health and safety, financial concerns, and travel issues, among others. The flexibility of the HyFlex model could enable institutions to maintain educational and research activities—including for students with disabilities— as the circumstances of a given disruption unfold. Different learning modalities work better or worse for students depending on disability, proximity to campus, work and family commitments, and other factors. By providing multiple pathways for students to access and participate in learning, HyFlex can support a diverse student community. (Educause Learning Initiative)
    • Successful implementation
      • UCR has 104 Rooms for Increasing Student Engagement (RISE) that are set up to effectively teach HyFlex courses. XCITE Instructional Continuity Consultants are available during your course to assist with instructional and technology needs. Visit https://ontherise.ucr.edu/ to learn more about resources and support for teaching in a RISE room.
    • Addressing Challenges
      • Clear communication (e.g., student expectations)
        • Be sure to offer multiple channels of communication with students and make these clear to them in your syllabus and course design.
      • Course design for HyFlex
        • There is a learning curve. Consult with an XCITE Instructional Designer for resources and assistance
        • Student Learning Outcomes Analysis
        • Equivalency in learning (activity alignment in all learning modalities)
    • Research and Resources
  • Flipped
    • What is it?
      • A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning, which aims to increase student engagement and learning by moving direct instruction to an individual learning space of the students choice, while the face to face classroom is used for interactive learning where the instructor guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.
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