Recent research has shown that gains in student learning in well-designed online or hybrid courses are comparable to or may exceed modes of in-person instruction while simultaneously offering advantages in terms of cost. In 2014, the Foundation launched its Hybrid Learning and the Residential Liberal Arts initiative to learn more about how hybrid approaches to teaching and learning might combine technology-related advantages with the traditional values of higher education in a residential liberal arts college community. We made grants to support course-sharing and online module development at over 35 institutions and organizations, engaging over 180 faculty and staff in a three-year period.
The Teagle Foundation partnered with Ithaka S&R, a not-for-profit research group, to gather lessons learned across the funded projects. The report features insights on student learning in hybrid courses, factors that help faculty make the most of technology in the classroom, and considerations that campuses should keep in mind to ensure hybrid courses are financially sustainable.
Two points were particularly salient to the Foundation’s focus on the quality of undergraduate education:
First, gains in student learning in the Teagle-supported hybrid courses were comparable to the gains in analogous in-person courses, in line with research findings to date.
Second, the process of engaging with technology validated and enhanced, rather than diminished, faculty members' commitment to teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. The experience of designing hybrid courses helped faculty members rethink their role and practices as instructors - both online and in traditional classrooms.
We hope this resource helps campuses overcome common barriers as they embark on efforts to leverage technology in service of liberal arts education.