Baruch College Center for Teaching and Learning
Teach Hybrid

Capstone Seminar in Higher Education Reflection (Rachel Smith)

What were the learning goals for this course?

Students should be able to:

  • Integrate and apply the skills and knowledge learned throughout the HEA program.
  • Improve written and oral communication skills, in person and via various technologies.
  • Prepare for next professional steps.

How did you translate this course from a face-to-face version into a hybrid version?

The in-person course supported students’ completion of a major program project (usually a program e-portfolio) along with practicing various other relevant skills through in-person class meetings containing workshops, team planning and facilitation, book group discussion, peer editing, and panel discussions. In the hybrid version, some of the reading response, the book group discussion, and the team-based session planning was moved online, supported by structured, collaborative Google docs.

A screenshot of Rachel Smith's Google Drive for her class, which includes folders for assignments, the class schedule, readings, the syllabus and handouts, and a folder for team collaboration.

Tell us about your class activity and the materials you developed.

The class activity asks students to plan and deliver a session teaching their peers about a current issue in higher education. The first part of the collaborative document is for internal planning, and the second is the formal lesson plan for the session. In a F2F session, I teach students about planning and facilitating a session, similar to a conference presentation. Online and F2F, the teams of 3-4 students plan a session over the course of several weeks. They then deliver the 30-minute session in a F2F class.

View assignment description here (MS Word document).

View assignment materials here (MS Word document).

What challenges did you face in using this artifact in your hybrid class? What changes did you make?

The present artifact is the second version of this assignment. I have adjusted it in order to better structure the team planning portion of the assignment. In particular I got the sense that students did not read widely before settling on a set of specific learning goals. In the first iteration, I also observed that students tended to have a difficulty generating learning goals. To address these challenges, I made the process of collecting documentation (from various viewpoints and sources) and drawing out main issues, ideas, and source evaluation more explicit through adding a table to the planning documentation. I also plan to discuss and practice the process of deciding upon learning goals more thoroughly in the F2F session dedicated to teaching students about session planning. The first time, students also tended to overlook the active learning expectations for the session facilitation, so I added a specific prompt in the lesson plan (which is congruent with our professional organization conference proposal system).

This assignment works to blur the boundaries between online and F2F sessions and capitalizes on the strengths of each. I’ve organized the course schedule so that students have time to work on this planning process both online asynchronously and in person so that they can both divide up the tasks and collaborate efficiently. Another aspect that we all liked is that the Google doc allows me to track who made which contributions when, which allowed me to provide feedback to students individually on their contributions and interactions.

Rachel A. Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs and teaches within the Higher Education Administration master’s program. Her research uses social network analysis to examine the ways institutions facilitate college student transitions. website: