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Peer Review

Brief Hybrid Workshops on Teaching Well Online

by Ray Purdom , Steven Gilbert , Scott Simkins , Jane Harris , Todd Zakrajsek


Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 31, 2010 by Faculty Development
Overview: This website offers everything you need to run your own Brief Hybrid Workshop. It provides a growing collection of expertly designed workshop materials, including media and resources, for conducting Brief Hybrid Workshops (BHWs) that have to do with Teaching Well Online. Each workshop design consists of an Overview followed by a brief Initial Activity, next a short eClip or media-based activity (generally 3-5 minutes short), then a group Reflection Activity such as Think-Pair-Share, and finally a concise list of Follow-Up Resources for further thought and action. In other words, you will discover in each BHW package of materials a complete faculty development modulette in a nutshell that is well-developed but sharply focused, portable, and requires 15 minutes or less to complete. The 14 BHW packages are all clearly organized according to the six topics they represent: Engaging the Learner & Building Community Online Discussion Promising Teaching Strategies Teaching Critical Skills Assessment, Testing & Grading Web 2.0 Tools Taken as a cluster, all the BHWs under a single, topic heading may be conducted together as a complete unit of learning modulettes for a mini- training course or faculty development workshop. For an excellent overview of what a BHW is and is not, take a look at the following eClip about “A Brief Hybrid Workshop on Brief Hybrid Workshops” by Steve Gilbert:
Learning Goals: The primary purpose of this site is to provide faculty and faculty development professionals an easily accessible and highly useful collection of BHW materials and resources. When presented, BHWs are compact but well-developed modulettes intended to address the professional development crisis in our colleges and universities. They support faculty members who lack the time to participate in traditional faculty development workshops but still desire and need the knowledge/skills essential to effective teaching. BHWs not only raise awareness of important teaching and learning issues but also quickly engage faculty in an exchange of ideas and information based on evidence informed practice. In summary, the Brief Hybrid Workshop intends to be compact but authentic, open to a variety of learning styles based on research evidence and best practices, and also to promote hands-on, active learning: BRIEF less than 20 minutes to run, less than a few hours to prepare HYBRID includes a mix of media and other resources WORKSHOP has focused purpose and includes interaction
Target Student Population: This site and the BHW materials, resources, and designs it contains, will be primarily useful to faculty development professionals and administrators but also to experienced faculty and faculty mentors who lead or are involved in training new or inexperienced faculty members. The ultimate benefit of the presented workshops will be to new as well as experienced faculty who have little time for professional development but the desire and need to improve their teaching and course development skills, strategies, and knowledge.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The delivery of these BHWs requires anywhere from a basic to advanced understanding of teaching and learning principles, including the educational use of technology, and the ability to conduct a 15 minute presentation and workshop. The same pre-requisites apply to anyone interested in designing their own BHW.
Type of Material: This website offers a collection of ready-to-use, online workshop and training materials from soup to nuts that include suggestions, resources, and media for each step in delivering approximately 14 Brief Hybrid Workshops.
Recommended Uses: Brief Hybrid Workshops may be conducted in a variety of contexts and situations because they are highly portable. They could be part of a faculty training workshop or mini-course for teaching online and in the classroom or for developing online and f2f courses. You might also introduce them in faculty meetings where appropriate or highlight them at a faculty brown bags or round tables.
Technical Requirements: Web Browser, Flash, Java Script, Windows Media and QuickTime Players for viewing the media.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This resource presents with a high degree of accuracy valid pedagogical concepts and instructional models that lead to the development of teaching with technology and online course development skills. The materials and resources are ready to use as is. Use of recognized, standard resources as a basis and context for the workshops such as “The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education” by Chickering & Gamson, Salmon’s “E-tivities: The key to active online learning”, Bender’s popular “Discussion-based online teaching to enhance student learning”, several Educause references, Palloff & Pratt’s “Collaborating online: Learning together in community”, UMUC resources for teaching with technology, articles from Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, Bloom’s taxonomy, papers from the IDEA Center, Hot Potatoes Software, and so forth.
Concerns: Perhaps more guidance/directions in the use of the BHW materials and an example or two of a conducted BHW. The scope of the workshops can always be extended to include other topics such as adult learning, active learning,teaching with cases, critical thinking, problem and inquiry based learning etc. though the current scope is more than adequate. More examples for each topic such as "Assessment,Testing, and Grading" and especially "Teaching Critical Skills" would be desirable.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: This resource successfully improves support for instruction in higher education by increasing faculty knowledge, productivity, and professional effectiveness in teaching with technology. Compared to other approaches to faculty development, the BHW promises to be more effective than longer workshops and presentations that lack participant interaction and openness to multiple learning styles. It encourages practitioners to adapt and experiment with teaching ideas, principles, and strategies in a variety of disciplines Most importantly, the concept of a Brief Hybrid Workshop is innovative while being grounded in evidence-based instructional approaches and best practices that employ technology.
Concerns: It might be made clearer that the main purpose of this site is to provide all the workshop materials needed, including media and resources, for the successful presentation of BHWs on a variety of technology based teaching topics. If this site were open to contributions from the community at large of faculty and faculty developers who are teaching and developing courses, not only its breadth but its depth and effectiveness would be significantly enhanced.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This resource clearly presents information on BHWs and arranges it in an orderly and logical fashion. The information is easy to understand for the targeted audience. The presentation of information is attractive and clearly designed with no distracting design or layout features. The writing and speaking style is clear and plain with terms and any new jargon defined. The general layout of the web pages is consistent and visually distinct. In general there are no major bugs encountered while navigating the pages and using the media resources.
Concerns: The information on how to conduct each particular BHW could be more comprehensive to include more tips and strategies. Difficulty viewing the eClip for “Using Rubrics to Promote Meaningful Online Discussions” because of size and configuration. Broken links in “Dealing with Sensitive Issues in Online Discussion” Brookfield, S. (2006). Discussion as a Way of Teaching. Downloaded from, 5/20/09. See the definition of Discussion (and the distinction from Conversation or Dialogue) p. 2, and Why Discussions Fail, p. 3. Also in “Using Rubrics to Promote Meaningful Online Discussions” see Discussion Board Rubric -

Other Issues and Comments: This site is an exciting overview of the concept of using a Brief Hybrid Workshop for Faculty Professional Development. It is the result of a collaboration among faculty in the University of North Carolina system and Steve Gilbert of the TLT Group, and it is evident that a lot of effort has gone into the development of the concept and a helpful collection of Brief Hybrid Workshops. It will serve as an inspiration for others to create Brief Hybrid Workshops of their own.