In the Fall 2013 semester, Augsburg’s adult undergraduate and graduate (AU and WEC) programs transitioned to a combination of online and face-to-face (f2f) scheduling in response to new federal regulations that redefined the amount of faculty contact time required per credit hour. Augsburg chose the hybrid model for its evening and weekend graduate and adult programs because it increases engagement by leveraging the potential of communication technologies with personal, hands-on, real-time instruction.
The typical hybrid course at Augsburg is a composed of eight f2f classroom meetings alternating with seven online sessions. The online sessions are asynchronous–meaning students and instructors are not required to be simultaneously online. Instead, learning activities can be completed according to students’ personal schedules (albeit, within assigned deadlines). Instructors use Moodle (an online learning management system) to deliver content, assign online learning activities, and assess student work.
A hybrid course includes both content and online learning activities. In order to comply with federal regulations concerning contact hours, these activities must be interactive (i.e., include student-to-student or student-to-instructor interaction. Moodle offers a variety of interactive learning tools instructors may use: Forums, Moodle Assignments, Lessons, Quizzes, and Databases (as well as VoiceThread, Qualtrics, and Engage–Augsburg’s blogging platform).
Hybrid instructors are encouraged to use the Moodle gradebook to efficiently communicate their assessment of students’ work. Moodle activities are fully integrated with the gradebook and offer options like customizable digital rubrics and grading guides that streamline the grading process while simultaneously providing substantive feedback to students. The Moodle gradebook is adaptable to most grading structures.
Augsburg’s e-learning team is available to assist instructors in learning to use Moodle, designing their courses, converting f2f assignments to online activities, and setting up their gradebook. Instructors should feel free to contact them whenever they need help.
Moodle 101 and 102
Moodle 101 & 102 are self-paced courses intended to familiarize instructors with Moodle and some best practices of online course design and delivery.
The Moodle hybrid template (a pre-formatted pattern that incorporates online course design best-practices) is recommended for use by all hybrid instructors. The template includes a generic course outline that delineates on-campus and online sessions as well as resources useful to all AU and WEC students (e.g., information about how to access technical help, etc). The hybrid template is intended as a time-saver for instructors, but it also ensures consistency in course design to reduce unnecessary structural stress for students.
Faculty Moodle Resources (FMR)
The Faculty Moodle Resources site is an excellent resource to help instructors design and manage their Moodle courses. It has strategies for teaching with Moodle and numerous links to “how-to” tip-sheets and brief video tutorials.
The e-learning team and CTL schedule a number of general (open to all faculty) and departmental (targeting specific disciplines) workshops throughout the academic year to assist faculty in maximizing their effectiveness in utilizing Moodle in their hybrid courses. Huddles showcase tools and strategies for engaging students in learning as well as streamlining course management. Announcements of upcoming events are announced in the daily A-mail.