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Promoting Hybrid Course Development: An Integrated Grant and Workshop Series Approach

Cara Harwood Theisen (University of California, Davis, USA)
Dan Comins (University of California, Davis, USA)
Additional Authors
Rosemary Capps Bartlett (University of California, Davis, USA)
Andy Jones (University of California, Davis, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 3:30pm
Faculty Development & Student Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
Institutional Initiatives
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Best Practices
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Ballroom F
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 2
Virtual Session
Best in Track

Explore a model for faculty development that integrates a workshop series and grant program to produce high-quality hybrid courses.

Extended Abstract

Development of successful hybrid courses requires significant investment of faculty time, interest in innovative teaching methods, and knowledge of effective hybrid learning practices. While many faculty development programs can engage faculty with exciting new methods and introduce best practices, empowering faculty to invest in designing new courses can be a challenge. In this session, a faculty developer and an instructional designer will share a model for a combined grant program and workshop series that enables faculty to produce successful new and redesigned hybrid courses at the University of California, Davis. We use the term "hybrid" for courses in which online and face-to-face activities and instruction are integrated, and the amount of face-to-face meeting time is reduced.

Participants in this session will:

  • Explore a model for faculty development that integrates a workshop series and grant program to produce high-quality hybrid courses;
  • •Consider how faculty development programs at their institutions impact offerings of effective hybrid or blended courses;
  • •Identify some of the advantages and drawbacks of having a faculty development program coupled with a grant program;
  • •Generate ideas for how promising practices from the UC Davis model can be applied to hybrid, blended, or online learning faculty development programs at their institutions.

In 2011, UC Davis established the Provost Hybrid Course Award, a grant program that funds instructors and teams of instructors to design hybrid courses. As part of receiving this award, course design teams participate in the Designing Hybrid Courses workshop series. The workshop series is taught in a hybrid format that includes face-to-face, synchronous online, and asynchronous online activities. In addition to the award recipients, workshop participants include other faculty who apply and are selected to participate in the workshop series in order to design a hybrid course.

Over the eight-week workshop series, faculty learn about research, tools, and best practices for hybrid course development, reflect on the experience of participating in a hybrid course, and make progress on designing materials for their own courses. After the workshop series, many course design teams, including some that did not receive an award, develop their hybrid courses and teach them the following year. Course design teams present at the annual Online and Hybrid Learning Showcase, an event where faculty share their experiences designing hybrid courses and present their course materials to the campus community. This showcase provides inspiration to attending faculty and serves as the kick-off for the next grant application cycle.

During this session, we will present an overview of the format and content of the workshop series and describe how the workshop series and grant program are integrated. We will discuss the role of funding as an incentive to produce high-quality hybrid courses and will describe how many hybrid courses are developed with only limited funds. We will also describe the significant outcomes of the program and the promising practices that contributed to these outcomes, as well as share ongoing challenges associated with this program.

Significant outcomes of the program include:

  • An increased number of hybrid courses that incorporate best-practices are being developed and offered in a timely manner. Since the program began in 2011, 16 courses have been developed or are currently being developed, serving approximately 1800 students annually. Prior to this program being put in place, only five hybrid courses were offered at UC Davis, primarily in language programs.
  • •Faculty interest and enthusiasm about hybrid learning has grown across campus. The workshop series and showcase foster an interdisciplinary community of faculty who share ideas, successes, and challenges as they explore and design hybrid courses.
  • •The next generation of faculty are trained on effective strategies, benefits, and challenges associated with hybrid teaching and learning. Graduate students and post-doctoral scholars are prepared to be leaders in higher education as they are often key members of hybrid course design teams that explore innovative learning methods and tools.
  • •Awareness of accessibility and universal design principles has increased on campus. Accessibility is emphasized throughout the workshop series and courses designed as a result of the program integrate universal design for learning, becoming models for technology-enhanced courses.

This session will be beneficial to faculty developers offering programs related to hybrid and blended learning, to instructional designers who support course design, and to administrators prioritizing campus initiatives for hybrid and blended learning and faculty support programs. We will encourage active participation by these groups throughout the session. To set the stage, we will invite participants to share faculty development practices that encourage development of hybrid or blended courses at their institutions. Following a presentation of the UC Davis grant model, we will collectively brainstorm other incentives that can promote hybrid course development. In breakout groups at the end of the session, participants will discuss how aspects of the UC Davis model could be incorporated or modified for their institution.

All participants will have the option of downloading or receiving printed copies of 1) an outline of the "Designing Hybrid Courses" workshop series format and content, and 2) a summary of the grant program, including a template, planning/ development timeline, and a description of different contributions of various stakeholders, including faculty, academic departments, instructional designers, and faculty developers in producing hybrid courses.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Cara Harwood Theisen is a faculty developer in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at UC Davis (http://cetl.ucdavis.edu). Cara works with UC Davis instructors, including faculty and graduate students, on effectively integrating technology to enhance student learning. Cara coordinates the PHCA grant program and co-facilitates the Designing Hybrid Courses workshop series. She earned her PhD in Geology from UC Davis while serving as a teaching consultant. Co-lead presenter Dan Comins is an instructional designer in Academic Technology Services (http://ats.ucdavis.edu) with a focus on helping faculty design online and hybrid courses. He has worked on the PHCA program and workshop series since their inception in 2011. Dan has been helping UC Davis faculty, graduate students, and staff create innovative e-learning projects and videos since 2005. He earned a Master’s of Arts Degree in Educational Technology from San Diego State University.


Co-presenters Dr. Rosemary Capps Bartlett and Dr. Andy Jones authored the original proposal that funded the Provost Hybrid Course Award and have contributed to the ongoing success of this program. As a faculty developer with CETL, Rosemary served as the program lead from 2011-2013 and created the framework for the PHCA as it exists today. Rosemary also developed the “Designing Hybrid Courses” workshop series and taught the first several iterations. Much of the content from the workshop series is based on the Blendkit Course materials (http://blended.online.ucf.edu), a set of open-licensed faculty development materials about blended learning released by the University of Central Florida and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The team-based structure of the Provost Hybrid Course Award is based in part on a model from the University of Sydney (Ward et al., 2010; Journal of Distance Education). Dr. Andy Jones is Academic Associate Director of Academic Technology Services at UC Davis. He manages the ATS faculty support unit, edits the campus instructional technology blog (http://wheel.ucdavis.edu), and hosts twice monthly faculty forums on online learning and collaborative education.