Hybrid Class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid Class, Day 10


Today, is day 10 of this series on How to Create a Successful College Hybrid Class.  My goal is to create a successful hybrid speech communication class at the college level which I can teach many times over the next few years.

You know the song, “It’s all about the Bass”?  I would call this post “It’s All About Working Together”.

Can you envision five college kids huddled in their overcoats checking their cell phones rather than speaking to one another.

The students are assigned to create a group presentation speech.  It started off well.

However, when the students don’t communicate in person I begin to think nothing is occurring.

Somewhat I’m correct about this.

Our hybrid class hasn’t met since last Friday. the students were given all weekend to work on their section of the group speech.

It is Wednesday.

Today, the students were given the entire class period to work on their speech together.

Notecards were to be ready, a bibliography, outline, a visual aid and manuscript of the speech were to be finished up.

We are twenty minutes into class and three of the five students are ready to go.

Two others looked perplexed.  Oh, we had to have everything ready today?

Those two pulled out note cards and jotted down their notes.


The group leader has emailed me several times expressing her frustration with the quality of the speech.  I assured her she wouldn’t be penalized because of this. Mind you, everyone in this group is plenty capable of “A” work if they so choose.

It is very quiet in here.  I guess the three finished are waiting for the other two.

I broke this project into five parts:

Introduction (one person)

Body (three people)

Conclusion (one person)

Each person in the project had other responsibilities as well:

  • the one who introduces leads the group
  • the one who concludes creates the visual aid slides
  • the three who have written the body of the speech–time, create the bibliography and the speech outline

This hybrid class is being developed to answer the need for those seeking classes over a short time.

Since this is a commuter college, it is difficult for the students to get together.  I gave them this class period to practice the speech.

I’ve moved to a computer lab.  If I’m in the room, it’s too easy for me to step in and correct or suggest anything.

I want their speech to feel like one of other students’ group projects in a regular classroom.


Today, I learned communicating is one of this generation’s biggest challenges.  They simply don’t talk to one another.  It has become so second nature to them, it’s a cop out now.  Why speak to the kid in your group when something is lacking in their speech if you can just email them?

Except they were to include me in all email.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened.

My goal is still the same–to create a hybrid speech communication class. 

I’ll have to think about how to fix this problem.  I think there is a way to create a group for them to speak on line which includes me.  Not a forum, but a different sort of configuration.  Hmmm.


Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


hybrid college class

13 Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day 7


Oops!  I bet you are wondering where the Thirteen Days to Creating a Hybrid College Class, Day 6’s blog post is.

During our winter break, I emailed, graded and created lessons for the students.

I never stopped “hybrid teaching” for more than a day.  We visited friends and it was surprisingly convenient to take a little time each day to keep up with the grading as it was posted by the students and still have time to enjoy with our friends.

But uhm…..while driving home from Ohio and seeing these wonderful friends, I totally forgot we were to have class on Day 6.  Totally. forgot!


Once I realized it, we were too far away from home for us to get there in time for me to teach class the next day.

I think it was Freudian…I planned for day 6 in the syllabus supplement, so at least at some point the day was on my mind.

Somewhere in there it slipped my mind.

No matter–the wonders of the internet saved the day and everyone was notified by email before the class.  I didn’t want anyone to show up at 8:10 a.m. and my smiling face wouldn’t be there.

Today is Day 7 of teaching a hybrid class.


Speaking of the wonders of internet, let’s talk about email…..or maybe it’s a headache.  I suppose it all depends upon who you are communicating with and its importance.

Since this hybrid class is studied both in class and at home, students have two ways for emailing me.  One is through the college’s email and one is through my personal email.

The professors are encouraged to only use our college email, but in a case like this hybrid I thought it was more important for the students to be able to have quick access to me than going through the school email.

Sometimes we have success, sometimes we don’t.

Primarily, the tricky part is turning in homework assignments in a timely manner.  Since I am checking both email accounts as well as the coursework upload files, it is difficult to keep everything organized.

Next time, I will A. show the students how to access their student accounts and how to use them and  B. we will only use the upload file and file assignment feature and C. I’ll keep a check list (or at least use my gradebook, duh…) to track completed assignments and those which are late.

At present, I find myself clicking back and forth from the coursework page to the email to see if the students have turned in their assignments by the due date and time.

Oh gosh, it’s crazy!

student computer

Plus, since the students are working from home there have been several times where they have sent to two assignments in one file upload and not told me.  It becomes a case of:

ME:  Student X, I don’t have your Youtube critique.

STUDENT X:  You don’t?  I sent it in with the chapter homework. The assignment due date window was going to close and I thought it would be better to send them together than not get it in one time.

ME:  Good thought!  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that.  I wonder where it is?

STUDENT X:  I’ll email it to you again.  Which account?

ME:  My college email address is fine.

STUDENT X:  I forgot.  I typed it on my dad’s computer and I don’t have it here.  I’ll send it once I get home.

And so forth and so on……

Another headache?  One student doesn’t receive my emails until five hours later.  His network is crazy slow.  What’s that about?

I’d say one big challenge of creating a hybrid class is the internet. If it’s unreliable, you are in for some real headaches.

student computer

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Five

The flipped classroom:  Kindness through Christmas cookies.

christmas cookies

Let’s talk about kindness in the college classroom. What?  It needs to be discussed?  I don’t know if it does, but I am going to do so anyway.

If you’ve been following the blog this week, you have taken my journey right along with me as I navigate the “flipped classroom” waters.

Today, something interesting occurred.  The students talked to me!

Could it be the decorated sugar cookies I brought to class did the trick?  I wanted to reward all of us for a job well done this week.  None of us are used to having a 8:10 class five days consecutively.


The kids took one look at the cookies and grabbed them.  My international students don’t even get to travel home for the holidays.  They seemed especially grateful.

All I know is something changed. We’ve  become accustomed to one another. Yeay!

christmas cookies

I think it’s fair to say taking the time to extend kindness is important.  It’s easy in an intensive situation such as this to lose sight of the human quotient.  We are working at such a hectic pace– reading, grading, writing, discussing through forums and viewing video clips we forget we are first human beings.

Humans need one on one time with each other.

The cookies reminded all of us that is was the holiday season and we needed to have fun even though we are madly working at this fundamentals-of -speech thing.

Giving your students a little gift works wonders, too.

I purchased highlighters and handed them out at the end of class for the students to use on their next assignment rubric (persuasive speech).  Although I hadn’t planned for the kids to keep them, they seemed to want them.  Suddenly, I had a gift.

Sugar cookies and highlighters.  Who knew?

christmas cookies

Keep a look out for my next post.  It won’t be for several days, because I am blogging in real time about the experience, but I’ll be back with stories about what occurs while we aren’t in class these next twelve days. Maybe I’ll have more stories of kindness in the classroom.  Who knows?

The flipped classroom will do the work for me. I’ll merely step in and out several times to check my email for homework assignments, and replies to the next forum discussion.

Until then, please enjoy your holiday as well.  Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com  or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Three

Day Three

Let’s talk about forum discussions in a college hybrid speech communications class.

Today, the Christmas cookies hit the fan so to speak…..


Picture this:

It is a cold, grey December day. There’s chill in the air, the kind that nearly freezes you to the bone.

Typical mid western weather in December.

Oh joy.

It’s early–only 8:10 a.m.  In comes my little flock who look half asleep. The students aren’t chatting with each other and certainly not with me.  I ask how everyone’s evening went and no one answers.

No feedback to me that’s for sure.

(Pause)  I have a theory about this–if I don’t speak to the teacher it is as if the class isn’t occurring.  I can stay “checked out.”

Mwwaahhaaaa….they don’t know me, though.


I go through the day’s list of activities and I must say, it is a long one.

The first thing I mention is forums.  One of the high school kids looks bewildered, but the girl beside him restates it for him.  (I have no idea why she thinks she must restate what I say when I am standing right there and can do it for him myself, but hey she is 17 and doesn’t everyone know EVERYTHING when they are 17?)

Sorry, I digress…

I’ve never had the opportunity to use a forum with a class.  I was hesitant at first, only because I didn’t understand how the students post and reply.

I now understanding why forums are crucial to a flipped class.

Checked forums off my list! Forums give you the feedback a teacher is seeking.


When I was a student, we spoke to our professors out of respect.  My parents made it clear to me to respect my elders and even as an adult, I am aware of any adults who are older than I who should be treated with the utmost respect for their wisdom and age.

I wasn’t raised with a cell phone in my hand.

Telephone calls were kept to a minimum and calling long distance was an extravagance.  My father was a doctor so we could afford those state-to-state telephone calls, but regardless I wrote letters.

We learned how to write a letter when we were in elementary school.

Is letter writing even taught any more?

No texting, either.

As we all know, the technological world has changed tremendously over the last fifty years.

In all defense of these students, the art of conversation isn’t something they are used to practicing.  (We’ll practice conversing the last day of the semester. )

I can all ready see how a forum is a fantastic method of communication.  For those of you unfamiliar with them, it is truly brilliant.  The teacher poses an article, video clip and/or questions he wants the students to ponder.  The student is required to make one post regarding the teacher’s post and replies to other students’ replies as well.

Ladies and gentlemen–we have conversation!!!

Forums are essential to a flipped class.



Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net


hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Two

Day Two









Flipping a class isn’t easy.

Today, I spent about two and a half hours organizing everything for tomorrow–power point for chapters’ answers, college level speech example and outline of the speech, creating another power point with examples of notecards to coincide today’s speech and tweak a forum post.  I graded the pre test and their homework from last night and entered all of this in the gradebook.

If you think that’s a lot of time for a one hour class, you don’t know teaching.  It’s time consuming.

I’ve used video clips to explain certain concepts.  I knew it was a great tool.










Enter Youtube.

I jumped on Youtube and spent only thirty minutes searching for clips of teachers teaching the next two chapters’ information–delivery and language. Just thirty minutes! In the grand scheme of things, that is a pittance compared to all the other time I spend.

I  planned for the students to read two chapters from the textbook for Thursday (some thirty pages). I decided it would be better for them if they viewed video clips to attain some of the same information.

In addition, they must write half of the first draft of their informative speech due to me on Thursday, too. I will peruse all the speeches and give individual feedback to them.

Viewing the clips will save them time even though they’ll still have to answer the chapter questions.

Flipped learning–It’s all about independent learning, saving time, differentiated instruction and individual guidance from the teacher.

Today, I learned about using video clips and the true value of them for a teacher–saving time!

P.S.  Since the writing of this post, I have become great friends with the Youtube site.  It is invaluable to me.  Plus, these high tech. students are accustomed to visual learning.  I’ve shown clips to all my classes and they do a marvelous job of enriching my teaching.  I’m sticking with them.

Thank goodness for Youtube.








Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class Day One

Day One

A bit earlier this semester, I was asked to create an intensive hybrid speech class.  It sounded fun to me.  (I know not everyone would enjoy creating curriculum, but there you go…)


Since we are just sitting around here sort of waiting for Christmas festivities with our family (does everyone else feel that way?), I had the time to create it.  So, although I say “gulp”, I am also metaphorically standing here like Wonder Woman.  I. can. do. it.

wonder woman

Honestly, I had no idea what I got myself into, but that isn’t unusual for me.  I’ve taught drama and speech classes for nearly forty years–I mean, how difficult can it be?


I looked around on the web and found several sites and Pinterest pins concerning the subject, so that persuaded me I could put the hybrid together.

However, if I’m going to learn from all of this, I need to analyze what I am doing right and wrong during these thirteen days when I teach one for the first timeflip


First, I had to get the lingo straight.  I was calling it an “a cross between an online and traditional class”.  Duh.  This is completely incorrect!

On line classes occur only on line.  Hybrid classes use textbooks and can have one on one teaching time with students or time in a classroom.  Hybrid’s use various modalities to teach–on line learning from various sources (websites, video clips, on line documents, etc. )Hybrid classes are usually only offered for lower level classes.

That’s the first thing I learned.  

In thirteen days, I must teach an entire textbook’s worth of material.

No problem….(gulpIn theory this should work.  Here’s why:

The students are reading, writing speeches, viewing a lot of information on line, answering forum posts, creating notecards, outlines, bibliographies, etc. and attending class with me for 70 minutes each of the thirteen days.  During the interim for Christmas and New Year’s the students have assignments to do as well.

How intensive is this?  Well, their first speech, an informative one, is due on Friday.  Tomorrow, they are presenting a little self introduction for us.

Two speeches down, two to go.

I thought this would be difficult for the students to complete.   A faculty member asked, “Once they saw all they had to do, did they run out the door?”

The answer is no. It didn’t seem to faze them.


These days, students are used to online assignments and many have taken hybrid classes in the past.   Gone are the days of sitting in a lecture hall, or if not gone maybe there are a few less of them.

I am going to work just as hard as the students.  And, I have to stay ahead of them!

For instance, thus far I have spent about three hours today just getting everything ready for tomorrow.

Today I created hand outs for: writing notecards, informative speech topics, and rubrics for an informative speech and forum discussion.

Prior to the first class, I probably spent about six hours planning the class.  Why so long?  Because I planned the entire intensive so the students would have every assignment and due date at their finger tips.

I figure that’s the least I can do for them.

Truthfully, that’s ok with me.  I am more valuable and employable with everything I learn to do as far as higher education is concerned.  I’m interested in teaching additional classes on line in the future.

It sounds like more and more people are taking to learning in this manner.  I want to be one of the teachers who can provide the instruction for them.


For instance, I’d never had to make power point for a class because in the past, I taught drama classes.  Most of the time my classes were hands-on, not lecture.

So, I can check off “creating a power point” from my list.


However, I am all ready seeing the value of on line learning.  Because of the net the world is truly our oyster.

My favorite example of web gold is Ted Talks.  They are a dream for a speech teacher.  My first semester students, mostly high school kids, hadn’t been introduced to Tedtalks. They enjoyed them a lot and shared with me they had viewed others in. their. free. time.  What?

Ironically, I first learned about Tedtalk on Facebook.  Facebook, who knew?

A wonderful by-product of  Tedtalks is they are tremendously interesting and thought provoking.

I use one on procrastination, ten tips to becoming a better conversationalist and several others.  I’ve also used them for extra credit.

Today, I learned how to put a forum together thanks to my daughter.

She’s studying for her masters in education so she can teach drama.  (Talk about the apple not falling far from the tree….) She filled me in on how her professors use forums as a way to enrich the lessons.  I was interested in hearing what she thought were the positive and drawbacks from forums.  She had no complaints.

We’ll see how this goes.  Who knows what tomorrow holds?  

drama teacher

The A-List Way to Becoming a Fabulous Teacher


New teachers wonder what are the secrets to becoming an A-List teacher.

Rubistar.com is a website where a teacher can create any kind

of rubric she may need. It has been great help to me over the years.

This year, I am teaching a Fundamentals of Speech class for

a community college. I realized I have several rubrics for speech presentations which might come in handy for some of you.

My students presented wedding toasts, graduation,

employee of the year (the award went to me!), anniversary celebration toasts,

and a host of other types.

I hope this helps you.

Check it out:  Group Presentation Speech Rubric – Excel

This rubric includes all the elements that one would need to look for in an exemplary speech–voice, tone, eye contact, time, introduction, body, conclusion, bibliography, notecards, outline, peer evaluation, etc.

This lesson took the students about two weeks to prepare meeting twice a week.

Since this a commuter college, we had to make time in the computer lab for them to research while working together.  This gave me an opportunity to observe their behavior with other group members.

This rubric includes preparedness, time limit, introuduction, body, conclusion of the speech, visual aid, diction, posture, notecards, outline and bibiography.  There is room for notes from the teacher.

Now that I’ve implimented this rubric twice, I’m thinking each member of the group needs a separate rubric to be graded so that if a teacher needs to give one student a lower score on the speech, she can do so without making it public to the rest of the group.

This rubric was created for a college level class, however it is suitable for secondary level classes as well.

Try out my free group presentation rubric and do get back to me with your results.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net