The online lives of students continually evolve alongside the Internet’s constantly growing role in culture and society. Hybrid or “blended” courses connect instructors and students alike to the rich possibilities of web-centered learning while offering scheduling flexibility to students with very busy lives. We know that online learning is most effective when course design and pedagogical methods are built around widely accepted good practices. The most fundamental of these is to ensure that clear academic objectives drive course development and pedagogical strategy as well as decisions about technology applications. Other good practices include the provision of social, cognitive, and teaching “presence” and the creation of a class-based community of inquiry. For hybrid courses, a clear plan for dividing work between online environments and the classroom is also of critical importance.
Housing these projects within departments or programs will enable a team of colleagues to work together on development, review, and revision of commonly-understood course content and commonly-determined goals and outcomes. The mini-grant program will be guided by CTL staff and include six meetings of all participating groups throughout the academic year. The purpose of these meetings will be to collectively review overall project goals, share project results and successes, and to brainstorm challenges.