Baruch College Center for Teaching and Learning
Teach Hybrid

Best Practices for Designing Online and Hybrid Courses

This is Note: While evaluations of teaching are the providence of departments, departments may choose to incorporate some of the suggestions outlined below to evaluate online and hybrid courses. The CTL is happy to advise.

Course Site and Information Architecture

  • Information on the course web site is laid out in a clear, organized way that makes it easy for students to access necessary information.
  • Students are given a clear sense from arrangement of the course web site of how to access course materials and where and how to submit assignments.

Expectations and Communication

The syllabus

In addition to the required information by the department, the college, and the university, syllabuses for online and hybrid courses should:

    • Include clear and concise instructions and directions for how the course is structured.
    • Directly inform students about their own responsibilities in online learning.
    • Clearly specify expectations and course-related procedures. For example, it is clear when instruction will be synchronous or asynchronous, and whether students should read or view items sequentially; deliverables, due dates, and consequences for missing or late work are clearly articulated.
    • Academic integrity and plagiarism are defined and clarified in terms of the online and hybrid environment. For example, syllabuses may contain a statement on fair use and copyright issues, and specific instructions for citation that are relevant to online and digital work (i.e., citation guidelines for blog posts, multimedia resources, course lectures, classmate’s contributions, and collaborative or group projects).
    • The required accessibility statement about accommodations for students with disabilities includes online and digital spaces and assignments.


    • The technical requirements of the course are clearly stated (including hardware, network, and software requirements).
    • Tutorials, instructions, or links that explain to students how to use required technology are made readily available.


    • An accessibility and accommodation statement for students with disabilities is provided.
    • Consideration in the selection and design of online activities is given to learners who may have visual or auditory challenges.

Interactivity and Engagement

  • Instructional or learning activities are purposefully selected, designed, and used to promote engagement and interactivity between students.
  • Constructive, relevant, and frequent feedback is provided in a timely way to promote clarification, elaboration, and transfer of skills or knowledge.
  • Student work in the site is easily trackable and recoverable by both the faculty member and the student.


  • Online activities are clearly tied to stated learning goals.
  • Methods and rationale for assessments are clearly communicated.
  • Methods of completing and submitting assignments, quizzes, and tests are appropriate to an online learning environment.
  • Assessments occur frequently enough to provide formative feedback.
  • Selections of asynchronous, synchronous and face-to-face course activities are purposeful and capitalize on the learning opportunities unique to each environment.