Hybrid Planning Strategies

Campus Considerations

Remember, as we gradually return to our campuses, every Buckeye plays an important part in taking care of each other. Be sure to review the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes site for the latest information and safety guidelines.

You can also search the classroom directory to find out what technology and other features are available in your classroom. You may need to work with your college or department if you require additional equipment or accommodations.

Basic Hybrid Approach:
In-Person Session(s) + Online Instruction

Class is conducted in-person and with Carmen each week
Each week, students receive both in-person instruction and online instruction through CarmenCanvas.

The most basic model of a hybrid class experience is where every week all students attend class in person together one or more times (for 25-75% of the normal instruction time for an in-person class) and also participate in online instruction (for the remaining percentage of instruction time).

Each week...

  1. All students attend class in person together for a reduced amount of time
    (say, one class session per week, when a fully in-person offering of the class might meet two or three times per week).
  2. All students participate in online learning experiences through CarmenCanvas.

Instructors engage with all students together in person during those limited class sessions but also during the rest of the week through CarmenCanvas (announcements, videos, discussions, feedback).


  • Research and many years of Ohio State examples and stories indicate the power of blended modes of instruction, where the benefits of both online and in-person can be maximized.
  • Creation of an online experience and instructional materials can add flexibility for instructors and students in the event of a need to teach remotely. Active-learning techniques in the classroom can be more quickly pivoted to online learning than substantial lecture components.


  • While this approach decreases the amount of scheduled classroom time, it does not meaningfully provide flexibility or options for students who may suddenly be unable to attend class in person.
  • Active-learning techniques used in the classroom may require preparation, or additional supplies and technology.
  • While studies have shown students learn more from active learning in class, they often feel more confused and uncomfortable during the process. Set expectations for what they will be learning, and create a supportive environment that rewards academic risk-taking and low stakes practice with feedback.

Review the Registrar's job aid on class labels for definitions of each mode of instruction (in-person, hybrid, distance enhanced and distance learning).

Other Hybrid Approaches

Below are more complex approaches, including a simultaneous option in which a portion of students attend in-person sessions remotely and a staggered option that involves groups of students attending separate, smaller class sessions. These approaches require specific administrative, technology, and instructional strategies to execute.

While the hyrbid options below are less common and present different challenges, they may be beneficial under certain circumstances.

Online Instruction + Simultaneous Classroom and Zoom Sessions

This class would be consistent with a hybrid experience (see above) but with options for students to experience the live component either in the classroom in person or through Zoom online. They could conceivably make this choice each week without disruption to their learning.

Planning Considerations

  • With this class approach, a significant portion of the class experience is created as online learning in Carmen, with strategies similar to a basic hybrid class.
  • For a “simulcast” experience, the instructor facilitates concurrent in-person and Zoom sessions. While the basic approach of many teaching methods can succeed for both modalities, it is important to define specific modes of student participation and engagement for each. This usually requires a member of the instructional team to serve as a bridge between online and classroom students.
  • See Teaching Tools for ideas about how to implement specific teaching methods online and in the classroom.


  • Students can participate, if needed, remotely, or at least have access to a transmission of what the instructor and in-class students are doing.
  • A recording of each class session can also be shared with students who missed it (although a separate form of participation and tracking of attendance would be needed for students who engage this way).


  • Teaching to students in the classroom and online, simultaneously, requires specific technology setups in the classroom. The best implementations require equipment that is only available in a handful of classrooms.  
  • Additional teaching staff is required for managing online students during class; a TA or similar role is needed to moderate online participants’ questions and contributions.
  • An implementation using just a Zoom session set up from the podium, with no other equipment or instructional staff, would amount to a one-way, somewhat imperfect broadcast of the instructor and the session, although it may still be a valuable option in cases of need.

Online Instruction + Staggered Classroom Sessions

This class would be have a significant proportion of online instruction for all students along with in-person sessions where groups of students are evenly divided over the two or three scheduled class sessions each week, so that students each attend one session.

Planning Considerations

  • For a staggered hybrid approach, an instructor would plan for a significant proportion of the instruction to occur online through Carmen.
  • While instructors will have multiple times in the classroom each week, students would each only have one session (say, 1 hour for a 3-credit class).
  • The smaller class size for each in-person session offers different possibilities for engaging with students.
  • See Teaching Tools for ideas about how to implement specific teaching methods online and in the classroom.


  • Students all have continual opportunities for meaningful in-person learning experiences.
  • A larger class size can be accommodated without a larger classroom space.


  • While students experience a single in-person session each week, in a smaller group, teaching staff are needed for all two or three sessions.
  • While each student has access to a subset of in-person learning, each group will experience different activities, discussions, and materials than the others. Dual sets of participation instructions will be needed for in- and out-of-classroom groups each week. Consider offering key activities multiple times for each group to experience in person, or design online equivalents for the out-of-class groups to participate.  
  • Assignments must be designed for students to succeed regardless of the delivery method they encountered for that particular content. That is, if only one in-class group has had a chance to practice or receive live feedback on a skill or concept, it is inequitable to assess the full course on that material.

Hybrid Planning Considerations

The key to planning any blended learning experience is to identify the core teaching activities and to determine which ones benefit most from an in-person experience and which may benefit from the affordances of online learning. For example, frontloading is a common strategy, where foundational knowledge (e.g., textbook reading, short lecture videos) is online, with accompanying formative assessment (e.g., polls, auto-graded knowledge check quizzes, discussions).

Group work, hands-on practice, Socratic questions, or other active learning techniques are best employed during in-person sessions. However, if you find that moving some active portions of your course online is the best fit, you can review suggestions for labs, field experiences and more on the Distance Learning Strategies page.

Choose your core teaching strategies

Sharing materials with students

Students need structure and direction for how they're going to navigate the online components of your course, and they will want to know what to expect from online and in-person instruction. Remember that even with scheduled face to face meetings, some students will need to miss portions of class time due to health limitations and other schedule conflicts. Posting your materials online in Carmen allows students to easily find the information they need and to stay on track if they must miss class sessions.

  • Import the Keep Teaching Carmen Template into your online course, especially if you have never taught online. 
  • Utilize Announcements in Carmen and set course expectations, outlining what will be accomplished in person and what will be accomplished online.
  • Make the underlying organization of your course explicit by using modules. This provides the visual for what the class looks like for students when they log in. 
  • Use a consistent structure for modules each week with a repeated set of expectations in each. 
  • If holding class meetings via CarmenZoom, include meeting links within the designated week’s modules so students can easily join and participate.
  • Create headers and titles to identify materials and activities in each module. 
  • Use pages to provide guidance about an activity. Describe what students are expected to do, how it relates to other parts of the course, questions you want them to be thinking about, and any other information that provides the context that you traditionally would have shared in person. 

Sharing Lectures

In a physically distanced classroom, you will need to stay in the instructor designated area near the podium and wear a mask during the full class session, including while lecturing. You can also utilize CarmenZoom for virtual lectures with students outside the classroom.

  • Consider whether some or all of your lecture material could be recorded and viewed before class so students can see and hear you without a mask. This also allows classroom time to be used for more active learning. For example, you may choose to have students watch a pre-recorded lecture before class. Then in class, you could review the main points of the lecture and allow students to practice with lecture concepts.
  • If you choose to lecture in Zoom, ask students to update their names, pronouns, and photos in their Zoom profiles so you have faces and names to speak to. Share resources for and model using virtual backgrounds occasionally; students have many reasons for not showing their home environments in a class setting. They may be more likely to use their cameras when virtual backgrounds are a shared norm.
  • For longer Zoom lectures, keep students engaged using Zoom polls to check for understanding and the Zoom chat as a place to capture questions or misunderstandings.
  • For larger classroom spaces, this may require a microphone for students to hear your voice. Check with your department to make sure there is a microphone available. You may need to provide your own. You may want to practice setting up and using your microphone before the first day and familiarize yourself with the space if possible.
  • Posting a recording or annotated slides of your materials online in Carmen modules allows students to easily find what was missed and stay on track, should they have to miss a portion of class due to health reasons.

Providing students with practice and application

Learners need opportunities to engage with content in an active way in order to practice applying what they've learned. Feedback from the instructor and peers, as well as through self-reflection, is key to helping students identify the flaws in their thinking. Active learning strategies provide those opportunities for practice and feedback in low-stakes yet high-impact ways.

The physical limitations that you will likely face will create challenges for doing the active learning strategies you may have traditionally included in your courses.

  • Use time and space beyond the classroom when possible—ask students to do the collaboration aspects of the activity as homework or devote class time for students to meet outdoors or via Zoom.
  • You can use breakout rooms in Zoom for synchronous active learning activities such as think-pair-shares, answering posed questions, problem-solving, case studies, annotations, concept maps, role-plays and more.
  • Zoom chat, along with verbal contributions allow students to answer questions or contribute to a full class activity. You can also use Zoom polling or Top Hat to collect student answers for some activities in larger groups. These methods all allow for real-time sharing of answers, which gives students immediate feedback.
  • Use time together in the classroom to debrief, report out, show work on the collaborative document, role-play, or screenshare results. You may need to ask students to raise their voices more than usual. Acknowledge that this may feel uncomfortable, and be supportive as your class adjusts.
  • If group work must take place in the classroom, the distance between students may make the volume in the room challenging. For group-generated problem-solving, concept mapping, case studies, or similar activities, have students collaborate through text in a shared document or Carmen group discussion.

Engaging students in conversation and reflection

Students need opportunities to interact with peers. Discussing content with peers not only helps students feel like they belong in a community of their learners, but the social aspect of the learning process also helps students make sense of the material, surface misunderstandings, problem solve, and develop ideas together. Making space for students to ask questions is also important as it allows you to assess whether you need to review a concept, go slower, go into more depth, or move through content faster. Getting feedback early on allows you and your students to adapt to changing needs and conditions. It also helps students feel like an important member of the class community.

  • Be explicit about instructions and expectations for engagement. This includes what counts as participation and rules for civil discourse in the online and in-person environments. Put instructions in numerous places in Carmen and mention them frequently during class time. 
  • Consider if students should participate in peer conversations in real time in your classroom or outside of class. Use Zoom breakout rooms or the chat function for synchronous discussions. Have a back-up plan for those students who are unable to attend. 
  • Asynchronous conversation can be accomplished through a prompt on a Carmen discussion board where the students post comments, reflect, and respond to each other through text or video. You can pose follow-up questions, give feedback, or add new information to the discussion board. 
  • Use the Carmen groups function to sort students into groups of four or five. Have them use a group discussion thread to check in a few times over the week, share perspectives and work with each other asynchronously on an activity. 
  • If you are in a physical space where students cannot pragmatically talk to and hear each other, consider having them use a collaborative document (Word 365 for example) where they can capture their ideas and discussion points.
  • As the students work, the collaborative document allows you to keep an eye on their work so you can monitor their progress and see themes across the small group discussions.
  • In a physically distanced room, you can still ask students to raise their hands or simply interject their questions throughout the class session.
  • To collect feedback from your students, you can ask them to complete an anonymous survey in an ungraded Carmen quiz.
  • Consider getting feedback several times in the term, with particular emphasis on the first few weeks or no later than the middle of the term. Ask about struggles they may be having with learning in this course, aspects of the course that are helping them learn, and about suggestions they have.
  • Alternatively, ask them about specific components of the course (Carmen organization, content, lectures, group project, etc.) if you are looking for feedback on certain parts of the course. Keep the focus on learning, not on what they like or dislike.

Student assignments

Regardless of modality, all courses are required to use a Carmen Gradebook for Autumn 2020 as part of the Carmen Key Four. The Gradebook is created by publishing Carmen Assignments for each graded assignment, discussion, quiz, or exam students will complete.

  • Include the due date for each assignment item to populate the course calendar within Carmen.
  • Whenever possible, give students realistic timelines for when they can expect work to be graded and what type of feedback will be given.
  • Be flexible and aware of student needs and access. Allow multiple formats for assignments when possible, such as allowing a discussion post to be video or text, or a problem set to be typed or photographed from handwritten paper.
  • Have a flexible plan for how you will accept late work if students are ill or otherwise disrupted.
  • Remember that even with scheduled face-to-face meetings, you will need to have assignment information readily available both in person and online. Many students will need to miss portions of class time due to health and other limitations.
  • Giving clear, explicit directions for the steps in the assignment, what should be included, academic integrity guidelines and links to any needed student supports will help students meet your expectations and reduce time spent clarifying via email. Using the Keep Teaching template provides a quick start for what to include in an online assignment.
  • Repeat any reminders or updates about assignments made in class using Carmen announcements.
  • Even if you have accepted physical paper assignment submissions in the past, in the interest of safety, we strongly recommend using online submissions through Carmen for all student work whenever possible. Many math equations can be created in Carmen quizzes using LaTeX symbols. For some assignments, such as complex formulas, sketches, or diagrams, there are creative solutions and software resources to reduce the barrier for online creation and submissions.
  • For work that must be submitted using physical materials, make a plan for procedures to ensure that materials aren't handled by multiple people in the classroom or shared or reviewed without adequate safety precautions. For example, leave a collection box by the door for them to deposit papers as they enter or leave.
  • Plan to give student grades and feedback in Carmen and try to avoid returning student work in class. It will be difficult to quarantine materials you have handled.


See Teaching Tools for ideas about how to implement specific teaching methods online and in the classroom.