What are hybrid courses?

Hybrid courses are a form of distance learning that comprise both synchronous class meetings and asynchronous learning activities in TCU Online. Consistent with SACSCOC guidelines for distance learning, instructors teaching hybrid courses receive training on integrating the synchronous and asynchronous modalities in order to deliver a cohesive, engaging course. The synchronous class meetings provide a key element of the hybrid course structure, are a central part of the course design, and are required for students.

Hybrid courses are different from fully online courses as fully online courses are entirely asynchronous. Instructors teaching fully online asynchronous courses at TCU have completed a robust 15-week training with emphasis on online course design, asynchronous student engagement, instructor presence, and course assessment. For more information about fully online courses, please see Requirements for Online Instructors and Courses.

Offering hybrid courses taught by hybrid-trained instructors allows TCU to maintain instructional continuity and navigate situations that may call for a sudden shift in course delivery format. The following hybrid course guidelines are outlined in the TCU Connected Campus Plan.

The hybrid course will:

      • Meet synchronously for at least 80% of scheduled class meetings
      • Have a minimum of three different forms of assessment; use rubrics for most activities
      • Have a course schedule that runs through the full length of the Registrar’s session

Hybrid instructors will:

      • Complete the three pieces of required training in order to offer hybrid courses
      • Use a TCU Online (D2L) course in which content will be shared, activities and assessments submitted, and grades posted
      • Structure their course consistent with the course structure used for distance learning courses (student introductions, instructor bio, content introduced in modules, mid-semester feedback opportunity, and at least one self-reflection activity)

Hybrid students will:

      • Attend the synchronous sessions as a required part of the class
      • Have technology that allows them to connect to TCU Online
      • Engage with other students in content-focused learning activities
      • Submit work or create a learning artifact at least every seven days during the course session

Why is there both a TCU Online Skills requirement and a Hybrid Design & Delivery requirement?

The TCU Online training (Building Your Course and Managing Your Course OR the Skills Demonstration Project) address how to use TCU Online tools for engagement, communication, and feedback so you and your students have a smooth technical experience.

The Hybrid Design & Delivery course explores design and delivery principles for the hybrid modality. This training addresses how to build content and activities with hybrid design principles. Understanding these principles will help you facilitate learning with the synchronous and asynchronous elements of your course, and provide a cohesive, well-designed experience for students.

Why do all courses need to use TCU Online?

Collecting student work and providing feedback in TCU Online provides evidence in case there are ever questions about requirements, hours, or skills mastered. Use of TCU Online also supports the continuity of instruction in the event that an instructor becomes ill or is otherwise unable to continue with the course.

How long will it take to complete the self-paced Hybrid Design & Delivery course?

The time required to complete the course is a function of the time needed to review the content and to gather the course development pieces that will serve as the foundation of your hybrid course.

Instructors with courses in which strong, measurable learning outcomes are aligned to activities, that have a course schedule already built for fall, and who are already familiar with TCU Online tools may complete the training in less than four hours.

Instructors with courses in which learning outcomes are not aligned to activities, that do not yet have a course schedule already built for fall, or are not familiar with TCU Online tools may take eight to twelve hours to complete the training.

How much content is in the Hybrid Design & Delivery course?

The course has four required modules: Distance Learning Regulations, Course Design for Student Engagement, Accessibility, and Delivering Your Hybrid Course. Each module has fewer than ten short pages for instructors to review. Additional materials are in optional, supplementary sub-modules. Reviewing the required content in each module should take no more than an hour.

What items will instructors produce or complete in the Hybrid Design & Delivery course?

There are four deliverables that instructors will produce – in most cases, instructors should have these pieces associated with their existing course, but successful hybrid courses may require reformulating these pieces to reflect the new delivery format. This may take additional time beyond the time needed to review the module content. Pieces will be completed / submitted in the Hybrid Course training course. The four pieces are:

        1. Quiz: Distance Learning Regulations – 10 questions, multiple attempts permitted
        2. Assignment: Three-Component Syllabus Abstract – This should list your measurable course outcomes, have a table showing how course activities align to learning outcomes, and provide your course schedule with synchronous sessions listed.
        3. Assignment: Student-Student Engagement Activity and Rubric – 1 item showing that instructor has an online activity or directions for a synchronous class session activity that shows student-student engagement.
        4. Assignment: Instructor Engagement Plan – 1-2 paragraphs indicating how the instructor will provide instructor-student engagement and feedback throughout the course and what TCU Online tools might be used (ex. announcements, discussion board posts, quiz submission views and question feedback, rubrics / comments on activities, synchronous sessions, etc.).

Once the instructor has submitted the syllabus abstract, student-student engagement activity, and instructor-student engagement plan, what happens next?

Instructors will have a one-hour consultation with the assigned eTrainer from their college to discuss the design of hybrid course activities, accessibility considerations, and disciplinary approaches in the online environment. Koehler Center staff will be available to offer help with TCU Online tools, and to consult with eTrainers about activities that promote student engagement and about distance learning course design practices.

We encourage eTrainers and instructors to add this conference to their calendars as soon as the instructor begins the hybrid training course. The goal is to meet with instructors as soon as possible after the three course design pieces (syllabus abstract, student engagement activity, and instructor engagement plan) have been completed so that instructors have as much time as possible to build their course with the benefit of assistance from the eTrainer.


In March 2020 SACSCOC, TCU’s accreditation body, offered institutions impacted by COVID-19 some flexibility regarding the delivery format of courses. This policy allowed TCU to finish the spring semester with remote delivery of instruction. However, courses in subsequent sessions will be required to follow the standards from TCU’s regulators.

These standards are articulated in the SACSCOC Best Practices for distance learning as well as in expectations from the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the compact that allows TCU to offer distance learning courses to students in other states. Because hybrid courses are a form of distance learning, these standards will apply to hybrid courses.

Hybrid courses have both synchronous class meetings and asynchronous learning activities in TCU Online. Courses must meet synchronously for a minimum of one hour per week, but the instructor may opt to schedule more frequent class meetings. All class meetings must fall within the scheduled class meeting times as listed on class search.

Hybrid courses should provide engaging learning experiences in service of the course learning outcomes. Instructor presence, a robust TCU Online course, and the intentional design of activities and feedback will help students succeed in the course.

As we move toward this new delivery format, course quality will be of the utmost importance. Each college with have eTrainers that will support instructors in their college as they complete hybrid training, helping them to integrate disciplinary practices, instructional design principles, and inclusive pedagogy.

Please review the information below to learn more about what a hybrid looks like and about the two required elements of hybrid training.

Instructor Preparation Mapping

Hybrid instructor training fulfills expectations set by TCU’s regulators for the delivery of distance learning courses.

Course Module TitleCourse Development Items to be Completed by InstructorsMeets SACSCOC Requirement
(Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree & Certificate Programs)
Meets SARA Requirement
(SARA Manual, Appendix B)
Distance Learning RegulationsQuiz - 10 questions, multiple attempts permitted1a, 3b, 3c6b, 6d
Course Design for Student EngagementSyllabus one-pager: course outcomes, table showing outcomes aligned to course activities, course schedule1a, 2a, 3b, 3c, 5a3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f, 4g, 4h, 4i, 9d
AccessibilityONE Student-to-student activity with directions and rubric1a, 2e, 3b, 3c1c, 5g
Delivering Your Hybrid CourseInstructor Engagement plan 1a, 2e, 3b, 3c5a, 5b, 5g
LMS TrainingBuilding and Managing Your Course1e, 2e, 3b, 5b,6b