Penn State Harrisburg

A-9. Hybrid Courses

To deliver administratively approved “hybrid courses” that facilitate instruction in which structured on-line experiences through course management software and other media reinforce campus-based learning.


Hybrid courses utilize digital technology to enhance learning with multimedia sources; allow for multiple learning strategies; comply with University policies concerning access; include flexible scheduling; integrate campus-based, off-campus, technology-based learning, and student-faculty interaction; and broaden the concept of learning communities. Because of the integrative function of hybrid courses, they typically require more advance planning for the instructor than in a course solely devoted to on-campus or online instruction. 


Defining a hybrid course: “Hybrid courses are specific packages of online and face-to-face content and processes organized to reduce or replace the number of required class sessions in order to improve effectiveness and flexibility for instructors and students and/or to achieve other efficiencies. Hybrid courses reduce by approximately 40% or more of the number of required classroom sessions, although some classroom sessions are required” (source: University Registrar–ARUAC). These courses might also be called blended courses. The schedule of courses designates hybrid courses by listing the in-class meeting time (e.g. T 9-10:15AM) on the first line of the course listing and AND WEB on the second line of the course listing. To inform students fully of the structure of the hybrid course, a hot link from the course schedule would allow for students to see the syllabus.

Consultation and Approval: To begin, the proposer is strongly encouraged to take a self-assessment to determine if a hybrid course would be compatible with the instructor’s style.

The proposer should formally consult with the Program Coordinator to inform that person of the interest in hybrid course development. The proposer should complete the Request for Proposal for Hybrid Course Development Form, gain the Program Coordinator’s signature, and submit the proposal to the School Director. The School Director will share all approved proposals with the Faculty Center to arrange for an initial consultation and the development of an action plan. This would facilitate labeling the course properly in the course schedule (important information for both students and advisors); it would also allow for referral of the proposer to experts who would assist with development of the hybrid course, to ensure that the course meets its educational goals.

Development of hybrid courses: Faculty will work with the Faculty Center. The benefit of working with instructional designers is that they do course design work every day, are current with the latest instructional technologies, are familiar with best practices, and can connect faculty to University and external teaching and learning resources.  The length of time needed for a hybrid course redesign varies based on the faculty member’s prior experience in online teaching, learning, and course design, the amount of time the faculty member can devote to the redesign effort, the amount of revision required, the number of online sessions to be designed, and the need for multimedia development.

All online course development completed in the Faculty Center (see Redesign Guide for Hybrid Courses), including the online components of hybrid courses, follows the design standards set by the Penn State Quality Assurance Standards. The standards are intended to provide a measure of quality assurance for online courses to serve the e-learning needs of Penn State students.

The faculty member is the subject matter expert who provides the course content. The faculty member teams with the instructional designers in the Faculty Center to schedule meetings, set course deliverable deadlines, and make pedagogical decisions related to the course. The instructional designer lends expertise in implementing the course in a professional and pedagogically sound manner.

Intellectual property rights: Faculty should read and understand the University’s policy regarding intellectual property rights by referring to the University’s Policy IP03, Courseware. Additionally, school directors will present faculty with the Courseware Copyright Agreement to be completed for each course prior to the start of its hybrid development.

Assessing hybrid courses: Hybrid courses should be available for peer review as any other class offered at the College. Once the hybrid course is developed, either the Program Coordinator or School Director will preview the proposed course, as is currently done with fully online World Campus courses, to ensure that it meets School and College standards of quality. For this review, faculty peers or administrators should use an instrument adapted from the assessment of fully online classes (available soon).

Presented to College Faculty Senate: April 21, 2011
Approved by Academic Council: April 27, 2011

Redesign Guide for Hybrid Courses117.61 KB
Request for Proposal for Hybrid Course Development Form29 KB