Simultaneous Hybrid

Simultaneous Hybrid Courses

Because of physical distancing requirements or the inability of some students to return to campus for in-person instruction, faculty may choose to adapt the hybrid modality in order to teach two groups of students—one in-person or hybrid and one fully remote—within the same course. This delivery method, which we’re calling (internally) simultaneous hybrid, is a variation of the hybrid models proposed by the Provost’s Office. The Provost Office is not necessarily recommending this approach, however, because of potential complications and challenges this will pose for the instructor for the reasons below.

How it works

Basically, in this variation you are teaching one cross-listed course that offers two different sections simultaneously: an in-person/hybrid section and a fully remote section. Students need to enroll in one or the other; if they want to switch modalities they would need to re-register through the Registrar. 

In other words, if you are planning to do live instruction for two distinct cohorts of students, one that is able to come to campus and another that cannot, then you are teaching a simultaneous hybrid course. 

How it appears in the catalog

The course catalog will have separate sections for each modality, one in-person/hybrid (depending on what you are planning to do) and one remote. Students will register for one or the other. 

If you are teaching a simultaneous hybrid course, you need to follow the normal process of submitting a revised proposal to your school for approval. This will signal to the Registrar that your course will have two distinct sections so that it can be offered to two groups of students. 

Important to note

Faculty need to be aware that designing and teaching a simultaneous hybrid course will present significant challenges for them and their students, specifically: 

  • You are basically creating a hybrid/in-person version of your course plus a fully remote version and teaching them at the same time. The course design approach should follow the recommendations for fully online/remote courses, in addition to hybrid courses if applicable.
  • Live synchronous sessions with both groups of students, such as an in-person screening or lecture with remote students joining over Zoom, presents a possible inequity issue between those groups. You will need to ensure that your remote students can participate meaningfully with what is happening in the classroom and vice-versa. 
  • CalArts has limited capacity to support networked classrooms on campus. 

How is simultaneous hybrid different from HyFlex?

The core principles of a simultaneous hybrid course are similar to a modality called HyFlex, which is a modality CalArts cannot support at this time. In a simultaneous hybrid course: 

  • All participants, regardless of which section they are enrolled in, must have equitable access to the course content and instruction, the instructor, and each other.
  • The learning outcomes must be identical for both sections.
  • Classrooms where in-person instruction takes place should be adequately set up with videoconferencing technology so that remote students can join, participate and interact verbally or through chat with in-person students.
  • All of the educational resources for the entire course must be online.

The difference from HyFlex is, as mentioned, students need to indicate which modality they are participating in through registration, and can’t casually switch between sections/modalities while the course is in session without re-registering. 

I still want to teach a simultaneous hybrid course. How can I go about it? 

The course design approach for a simultaneous hybrid course should be the same as for a fully online/remote course, and a hybrid course, if applicable.  For first-time instructors teaching in this modality, here's a step by step guide to determining if simultaneous hybrid can work for you and your course:

  1. Similar to any other course, start with a backwards design process. Consider the learning outcomes for the course. Can they be readily achieved through either modality? If not, you may need to modify your learning outcomes before moving on to the next step.
  2. Now consider your assignments. Can they be reasonably completed in either modality? If not, can you keep the parameters of the assignment the same but suggest different options for how students may complete the assignment, based on the resources they have at hand? To be equitable, the options should be available to all students, regardless of what section they are enrolled in.
  3. Consider the other activities students might complete in your course to complete credit hour requirements. A straightforward option would be asynchronous assignments or discussions on the LMS so that both sections can participate equally.
  4. Finally consider classroom instruction. Is your assigned classroom adequately equipped with the right technology so that you and your in-person students can readily interact with your remote students? If not, or you don’t know, how can you adapt in-person interaction so that both groups of students have an equitable experience? The classroom experience needs to be equitable for all students; it is not equitable if your remote students are passively watching you in a classroom with your on-campus students.
  5. Consider any additional limitations or challenges you might encounter with leading in-person and remote students simultaneously given social distancing guidelines for the classroom, such as wearing masks.

Simultaneous hybrid courses on Learn

If you are using the Learn LMS to host your course, note that both sections will be in the same course shell, just like a cross-listed course. Both sections will have access to the same sessions and coursework, though you can modify the criteria within each coursework to give students options for how they can complete each assignment. 

Further Reading

Need help?

If you're planning to teach a simultaneous hybrid course, we encourage you to reach out to the instructional design team at so we can assist you with your course planning. We also encourage you to sign up for the provided training course, Faculty Training for Teaching Online.