Highway to Hybridization

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Considering designing a workshop for your faculty members to address the needs and issues in blended learning? Join us as we share the development and implementation details of our first Hybrid Academy. You’ll gain insight into the process and product, as well as faculty feedback and lessons learned.


Jessica Sanchez-Barrera is an Instructional Designer III. I have been working for the Center for Online Learning & Teaching Technology since 2001.

Extended Abstract


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) opened its doors in Fall 2015 as the second-largest Hispanic-serving institution in the nation. UTRGV’s six campuses span over 100 miles across the southernmost part of Texas and came about by the merger of two institutions. One of the most critical adjustments our faculty and staff have made is the ability to communicate one message across distributed campuses.   

Our faculty tended to teach their blended courses based on what was established in their legacy institution, and there was concern from administration that blended courses were not being used to their potential. Therefore, the Center for Online Learning, the institution’s department responsible for the development of quality assurance in online courses and programs, research in online teaching and learning evidence-based practices, and continued faculty development, was tasked with providing a professional development workshop for faculty on best practices and quality assurance in the design, development, and implementation of Blended Learning. 


Our simple message transcended the limits of physical location: Quality is at the heart of what we design for our students. Since UTRGV has adopted Quality Matters (QM) as the measure of quality assurance in our online and blended courses, we had a solid framework upon which to build our professional development workshop. We formed a committee in the Summer of 2016 that participated in workshops, webinars, and book studies to drive a major revision of one of our legacy institution’s workshops on hybrid learning.  

One of the workshops we participated in was the OLC Blended Learning Mastery Series, which identified gaps in our training and how to address them. Upon self-assessment using the OLC Quality Scorecard for Blended Programs, we were able to create an action plan to move our hybrid workshop forward. 

Our Hybrid Academy was born.  


It is comprised of seven modules that work cumulatively to springboard faculty members into quality course development: 

  1. Introduction: reviews foundational information regarding hybrid teaching, including definitions of hybrid learning, the role of instructors in blended courses, adult learning theory, and hybrid teaching models. 

  1. Objectives: focuses on learning objectives as the foundation of course design and addresses critical concepts, such as backward design, alignment, and measurability. 

  1. Assessing the Learner: explores assessment topics, including alignment, formative and summative assessments, authentic assessments, criteria and rubrics, assessing in the face-to-face and online environments, and providing feedback. 

  1. Accessibility: addresses accessibility principles, such as Universal Design for Learning, accessibility features in Blackboard (our Learning Management System), tutorials for making instructional materials accessible, and considerations for designing with visual, hearing, cognitive, and motor impairments in mind. 

  1. Learning Activities & Instructional Materials: concentrates on instructional topics, including authentic activities, rigor and relevance, 21st century and employability skills, learner-instructor-content interaction, Blackboard tools, copyright and fair use, active learning, and the importance of using a variety of materials. 

  1. Technology In & Out of the Classroom: spotlights our institution’s adopted technologies for audio/video recording, webinar conferencing, content creation, and the most common tools within Blackboard. 

  1. Course Overview: reviews best practices in hybrid learning, including introducing students to the course, setting up expectations, syllabus considerations unique to hybrid teaching and learning, maintaining online presence, and hybrid teaching tips. 


As a result of faculty feedback and our own reflections, we will share our top five lessons learned and how these inspired Hybrid Academy 2.0. Join us to interact with critical moments along our journey and to leave with a host of ideas you can begin to implement immediately in your own programs to accelerate the design and development of blended courses at your institution.