Facilitating Online and Hybrid Classrooms

Written by Alexis Alexander
September 15, 2017 • 1 minute read

Have you ever thought about – or had – specific training related to your teaching style?

Do you think that you have that teaching style?

If you are making the shift to teaching online, one of the things that you may have to examine is all the ways you interact with students, and how you'll continue to interact and support online students.

Best practices in this area suggest that learning facilitation skills are important to taking your teaching online. Here are characteristics of what differentiate facilitators from traditional teachers and classrooms:

Teacher Facilitator
Lectures Discusses
Information radiates out from teacher Facilitator participates and guides
Teacher is the center of attention Students are the center of attention
Large classroom Small groups
PowerPoint presentations Handouts, scenarios, group activities
Direct control of class and activities Indirect control of class and activities

(Original source: EMS World)

  1. Reach out to your online students before the class begins, and be responsive to their email questions.
  2. Make sure that students know your latest contact information and the average time it will take you to respond to their inquiries.
  3. Be comfortable with the technology and have resources available to help students troubleshoot technical problems.
  4. Have a clear, well-developed syllabus.
  5. Create safe spaces for online communication by posting guidelines and setting an example with your own communication style.
  6. Create a balance for your communication by allowing and encouraging students to talk to each other; allow them to lead or create discussions when possible.
  7. Create interesting and multi-modal prompts for assignments and discussions, using open-ended questions and giving students choices for interactions.
  8. Keep an alert eye on your students and try to encourage those who seem disengaged.
  9. Provide the right balance of feedback to students – quality is more important than quantity.
  10. Perhaps most important of all, be willing to reflect on your own experience after a class ends and use that to continue adapting and growing your facilitation skills.

Teaching Hybrid Professional Communications Courses

Dr. Cynthia Schultes, an adjunct professor of Rhetoric and Language, worked in collaboration with Instructional Design to "hybridize" a Research Methods course for USF's Master of Public Communications program.

Case Study: Teaching Hybrid v.1—Finding Your Technology Threshold

Are you or someone you know finding success teaching with online and hybrid deliveries? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Email instructionaldesign@usfca.edu to share your story.

Here are some educational technologies you can incorporate in your hybrid or online classroom:

Whether you don’t know where to start or have a particular educational technology in mind, we are here to help! To learn how to apply educational technologies to your course, request an Instructional Design consultation.

Contact Instructional Technology & Training to schedule a training session and access self-guided training materials. 



  • Dr. Kelly Edmonds: The Importance of Facilitating Online Learning

Request Instructional Design Workshops
USF's Instructional Designers offers a series of workshops on enhancing students' experiences in online and hybrid courses using Universal Design for Learning principles and the Quality Matters framework.

For more information, email the Instructional Design team.