We are all one group – mastering hybrid case teaching

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Hybrid teaching has emerged as one of the greatest pedagogical challenges faced by faculty as a result of the pandemic. This article explores its evolution and some of the approaches being taken at schools around the world. We examine challenges it poses, hear of suggested solutions, uncover opportunities, and discover aspects that look set to endure in a post-pandemic era.

Why hybrid?

The unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic dramatically impacted class teaching across the globe. Faculty, working from home like their students, pulled out all the stops to develop and switch to an online educational offering. In the June 2020 issue of Connect, we reported on some of the remarkable solutions being pioneered, especially in case teaching, and revisited the same schools a year later for an update.

Pen circling a group of chalk drawn profile images

By the end of 2021, many schools had been able to restart in-person classes, as safety allows. But the global pandemic is not over and it can still be necessary for students or their teachers to isolate at home. National legislation and travel restrictions may also keep people away from campus.

Before the pandemic, many schools had already been experimenting with the blended live and online classroom, most often designed for asynchronous participation. In the determined effort by faculty and schools to reinstate and keep live classes running, usually considered to be especially crucial for case learning, hybrid teaching has emerged as the new everyday reality, enabling students to participate in the physical classroom and join online at the same time. Proportions can vary from a handful of students online to ratios around 50/50.

Inclusion

According to Paul Hunter at the Institute for Management Development (IMD), one of the greatest challenges of hybrid teaching is managing the inclusion/exclusion dynamics for participants. “Bringing virtual and physical participants together synchronously requires thoughtful design and deft delivery,” he says. “Enabling bridges to be built asynchronously can be a great place to start, perhaps with online discussion fora and peer assignments. Once in the synchronous arena, the importance of underscoring that all participants have equal status as part of this temporary community cannot be underestimated. It can be articulated explicitly, but importantly needs to be consistently signalled and delivered in a tangible manner, which ensures parity of airtime for all.” 

Creating as level a pedagogical playing field as possible for all participants is an important target and supports good class dynamics. This applies whether or not schools are offering hybrid courses, or facilitating hybrid instruction if students - or indeed staff - cannot be physically present. At the Ivey Business School at Western University, the default position is now that participants should be back in class on campus, and, typically, fewer than 10% of participants may be joining a class online for legitimate reasons. Nevertheless, according to David Wood: “A lot of thought about both pedagogy and technology must go into making sure that those joining remotely are not mere spectators; it is really important that everyone - virtual and physically present - feels part of one group.” He suggests, for example, not leaving cold calling choices to chance but including a list when planning the class to ensure both in-person and remote participants are involved. Some faculty we spoke to felt that best practice was to cold or warm call in roughly equal proportions to the in-person/online ratio. Paul Hunter strongly recommends instructors always make sure to say out loud the name of the person being cold called to emphasise the recognition of the individual, wherever they are currently located.

Hybrid case session at IMD
© IMD.

At HKU Business School at The University of Hong Kong, David Lee reflects on his recent experiences of teaching in multiple modes from fully face-to-face to online only programmes: “There is no doubt that synchronous hybrid teaching is the most difficult for ensuring that all learners, both present and remote, are engaged in the same way,” he says. “Trying to equalise the experience might include having those in the physical classroom also log in to see the same images on their laptops as those online, to provide a common thread of experience, and for all, therefore, to be able to participate equally in the chat function”. He observes: “To succeed with hybrid teaching, you simply have to prepare better, which means, for example, planning break-out class activities to include members from both in-person and online joiners.”

By adding live screens, some schools have orchestrated as hybrid break-out rooms and spaces where refreshments are served. This allows online participants to remain integrated in the group at all times. It can feel lonely to go to a coffee break in your kitchen at home when the in-person class is chatting together in the campus foyer about what they just experienced. Some faculty we spoke to suggested keeping cameras on before and after class when instructors traditionally make themselves available to students for matters arising, enabling those joining remotely to also have this important informal access.

Objectives and technology

Optimising the sense of one-group learning in the hybrid classroom is strongly influenced by using technology to harmonise and equalise participant experiences as far as possible. Early in the pandemic, Harvard Business School (HBS) created its Virtual Teaching Task Force, comprising school leadership, programme management, educators, learning designers, audio visual and technology experts. The challenge: ‘How could HBS provide a safe, equitable, and engaging learning experience that would accommodate both remote and in-person learners?’ The process and outcomes of the task force have been retold in Creating the HBS Hybrid Classrooms: Collaboration, Experimentation, Equity, and Innovation. At the heart of the endeavour was a complex brief: ‘… maintaining the integrity of the classroom experience and case method pedagogy, ensuring equity for both remote and in-person students, supporting a familiar teaching environment, and keeping the community safe.’

Through a process of experimentation, the task force developed solutions to optimise and equalise the visibility and - importantly - audibility of all faculty, students (many wearing masks of course), and materials which would also enable all participants to fully engage with one another, while upholding the intimate energy of a live case class. A system of cameras and screens was evolved together with an innovative approach to ‘stitching together three separate Zoom rooms’. The role of the senior learning technologies administrator, Jessie McAskill, was highlighted in helping to create an automated control so that all three Zoom rooms opened together at the same time. Illustrating the value of teamwork in bringing differing skills to the process, this was described as: ‘one of the most essential aspects of the hybrid experience … it engages remote students and makes them feel more a part of the classroom experience’. A further simple but impactful move was developing a universal screen background for all to use, which: ‘eliminated distracting individual backgrounds and created a more consistent aesthetic between remote and in-class students.’

Pedagogical context

The Blavatnik School of Government at The University of Oxford has also rolled out a comprehensive investment in technology and support resources to make all its classrooms hybrid enabled. (Key features of the school’s approach are set out in the box below.) Closely involved in this process, Karthik Ramanna puts the technology and support in a practical and pedagogical context: “Instructors need to stay focused at all times on substantive learning,” he says. “No matter how good and well supported technology is, it can be quite complicated; instructors are human and things can arise. If an instructor’s main focus is on the technology, the learning will suffer.”

Understanding the reality for students participating online is essential: “Even if classroom technology and support for the class is state-of-the-art, online participants may be facing individual challenges, including with their own tech, such as bandwidth or poor internet connection issues, which might mean they have to participate with their video off,” he points out. Hybrid instructors need to remember that learning through a computer is more taxing than in person, information processing times are longer, there will be issues arising such as around muting, or making sure that cameras and microphones are on. Keeping in-class participants and instructors ‘safe’ may still require social distancing measures such as mask wearing, lower density seating, or the use of clear screen dividers. Such practicalities will almost certainly mean that less ground can be covered in a hybrid class. Karthik advises: “Approaching preparation and entering the class with a mindset to prioritise those learning points that are really important will certainly help the success of the session for all participants.”

The Blavatnik School hybrid approach
  • Lectures pre-recorded and accessed online-only in students’ own time.
  • Classroom time used for interactive Q&As on conceptual topics and applied case-study discussions.
  • Online Learning Facilitator supports classroom session, helps run the hybrid learning technology.
  • All classrooms are hybrid, with students in-person and online.
  • Entire system managed by a dedicated AV crew from ‘the bunker’.
  • AI software tracks participants to ensure active speakers are always in camera view.
  • Special cameras zoom in and capture classroom whiteboards.
  • Technology includes: multi-cam viewer, vision mixer, additional ceiling microphones, separate screens with online gallery view, presentation view, online speaker view, participant/chat/polling.

 The Blavatnik School of Government has made two videos on teaching during the pandemic:

 

 

PAGE 2 

Participant experience

Following her webinar for The Case Centre ‘Moving Case Teaching Online Quickly: Best Practice’ Angela Lee of Columbia Business School advises faculty to: “Ensure you experience the session as a participant.” In the case of the hybrid classroom this means considering - and sharing - the differing experience of both those present and those joining remotely. She suggests: “Letting students know you can see them fosters a higher level of engagement, which is very important in a case class.” She recommends that issues of technology should not dominate the participant experience any more than they should that of the instructor and recommends an atmosphere of: “Clarity … Ensure that students are focusing on learning, not the logistics of online learning.”

Paul Hunter also stresses the importance of room set-up so that both in-person and online participants can see everyone and also have some flexibility in how they view everything. “We try to give choice,” he observes, “virtual participants can select a camera angle or part of the room they see, or they can focus on the instructor or, say, the slides, as you would be able to sitting in a physical class. To do this, the room has a set of cameras, which enables ongoing choice for those logged in; alternatively the instructor can block and control the cameras at their discretion to ensure combined focus on a particularly salient matter.”

Hybrid case session at the Blavatnik School of Government
© The Blavatnik School of Government. Photo: John Cairns.

Inevitably, not all schools will have the resources of flagship institutions to create bespoke hybrid teaching spaces and provide back-up technical assistance. Indeed hybrid teaching can - and must sometimes - take place with very basic infrastructure. Self isolating, or travelling, faculty can at short notice find themselves running a hybrid class from home or a hotel armed with nothing more than an iPad. Several we spoke to recommended that in this situation a teaching assistant or similar should ideally be present in the in-person class to offer local student support and trouble shoot any connection issues arising.

Whatever the set-up, any hybrid (case) class, should first and foremost be planned with the learning objectives in mind. According to David Wood, “Any use of technology should not be a choice of convenience; it has to be underpinned by a pedagogical philosophy.” He recommends considering such aspects as how available technology can be used in the preparation phase so that the class case discussion is better, and precious time in class is used to optimal effect. “By providing theoretical points in advance and having students share the analysis in small groups ahead of time, when it gets to class, both in-person and remote students can become active in leading their own colleagues through the analysis,” he explains.

Preparation and evaluation

Effective in-person case classes usually - and arguably should always - feel to participants as though they flow in an effortless way, but it is well known that detailed preparation is fundamental to achieving an appearance of spontaneity in the discussion process. What physically attended classes do traditionally have on their side is a generous stretch of time. Because of shorter online attention spans, hybrid classes tend to need to be shorter and therefore even more meticulously planned, with materials and tasks chunked to make the most impactful use of time. The right choice of flexible cases and teaching materials is also important. Increasingly, cases are being created or amended to include guidance in their teaching notes for online or hybrid use. Case authors, such as Luk Van Wassenhove at INSEAD, are now developing cases specifically designed with hybrid teaching in mind (e.g. Humanitarian Agility in Action (A): The 2015 Yemen Crisis, Are Chocolate Eaters Really SDG Smart?, and Tony's Chocolonely: The Road to 100% Slave-Free Chocolate?)

Schools that include class participation in student evaluation need to find innovative solutions for the hybrid setting to ensure all participants have the opportunity of being equally assessed. David Lee is practical: “It is invaluable to have someone else present to assist with the hybrid course logistics; not only to support the smooth running of the in-class technology and to trouble shoot, but to note down student presence, participation and engagement, including their questions and answers in the chat function. A teaching assistant taking this role really helps the instructor maintain focus on the learning in the complex hybrid environment”.

Opportunities

For all the challenges the hybrid classroom faces, it is also presenting new opportunities. Guest speakers, especially from case subject companies, have always added to the richness of a class. While it has become increasingly difficult for people to make themselves available in person during the pandemic, it has become much easier to attract a wider variety of guest participants to join the class remotely, their online presence providing a paradoxical parity and balance with the remote participants. David Wood highlights the enhanced opportunities to co-teach with other institutions and colleagues: “The hybrid classroom facilitates the opportunity not just to collaborate but to co-develop curricula; it requires additional work, but when it goes well it is very popular and stimulating for students. I now have the regular opportunity to co-teach with a case co-author at another institution and our differing perspectives on the case bring a valuable element of productive tension to the class experience,” he adds.

Hybrid case session at Ivey Business School
© Ivey Business School. Photo: Gabriel Ramos.

The hybrid classroom is also adding flexibility to course scheduling, particularly helpful for programmes such as the Executive MBA, and open, tailored or in-company executive education courses. No longer do executives need to attend away from the office for a block of several days as modules can be spread out online as required, and across a longer period.

Looking ahead

“It would seem obvious that most people, in the long run, prefer in-person learning,” says Karthik Ramanna. But, he feels it is unlikely we will go back to the classroom world as we once knew it. “Having experienced greater flexibility, people are going to want to keep it and some would rather continue to learn at home, if the learning style suits them better and where it may be more adaptable to their lives. The pandemic has changed the power of companies to demand the physical presence of staff at work and this may well become the reality for universities too.” 

David Lee believes that schools will go back to face-to-face teaching: “Some of the tools and skills instructors have developed for hybrid and online instruction that enhance learning - such as enabling technologies or guest speakers from across the globe - will almost certainly become part of a typical face-to-face class,” he predicts. “People’s teaching has really evolved through the new necessities, such as hybrid, brought about by the pandemic. In class you can see the difference between a good and a not so good teacher - online this is even clearer because negative impacts are more noticeable,” he observes.

Most ambitious schools aim to create an optimised experience for each and every participant whatever form of class they are involved in. Hybrid teaching has compelled even the best case class teachers to become masters of the enhanced skills of online teaching, and then become experts at marrying the two together into a greater whole - simultaneously. As Angela Lee puts it: “If you can teach well online, you are going to be a rock star in person. Becoming a better teacher online will help your physical teaching as it forces you to think through your entire content. If your online teaching has clarity, student engagement and accountability it will no doubt translate into great classroom teaching too.”

Looks like, in future, the hybrid class is set to live on to influence how case teaching occurs. At the very least it may assist the best case teachers with any secret ambitions to be a rock star.

This article was published in Connect, January 2022.

Page 1

Why hybrid?

The unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic dramatically impacted class teaching across the globe. Faculty, working from home like their students, pulled out all the stops to develop and switch to an online educational offering. In the June 2020 issue of Connect, we reported on some of the remarkable solutions being pioneered, especially in case teaching, and revisited the same schools a year later for an update.

Pen circling a group of chalk drawn profile images

By the end of 2021, many schools had been able to restart in-person classes, as safety allows. But the global pandemic is not over and it can still be necessary for students or their teachers to isolate at home. National legislation and travel restrictions may also keep people away from campus.

Before the pandemic, many schools had already been experimenting with the blended live and online classroom, most often designed for asynchronous participation. In the determined effort by faculty and schools to reinstate and keep live classes running, usually considered to be especially crucial for case learning, hybrid teaching has emerged as the new everyday reality, enabling students to participate in the physical classroom and join online at the same time. Proportions can vary from a handful of students online to ratios around 50/50.

Inclusion

According to Paul Hunter at the Institute for Management Development (IMD), one of the greatest challenges of hybrid teaching is managing the inclusion/exclusion dynamics for participants. “Bringing virtual and physical participants together synchronously requires thoughtful design and deft delivery,” he says. “Enabling bridges to be built asynchronously can be a great place to start, perhaps with online discussion fora and peer assignments. Once in the synchronous arena, the importance of underscoring that all participants have equal status as part of this temporary community cannot be underestimated. It can be articulated explicitly, but importantly needs to be consistently signalled and delivered in a tangible manner, which ensures parity of airtime for all.” 

Creating as level a pedagogical playing field as possible for all participants is an important target and supports good class dynamics. This applies whether or not schools are offering hybrid courses, or facilitating hybrid instruction if students - or indeed staff - cannot be physically present. At the Ivey Business School at Western University, the default position is now that participants should be back in class on campus, and, typically, fewer than 10% of participants may be joining a class online for legitimate reasons. Nevertheless, according to David Wood: “A lot of thought about both pedagogy and technology must go into making sure that those joining remotely are not mere spectators; it is really important that everyone - virtual and physically present - feels part of one group.” He suggests, for example, not leaving cold calling choices to chance but including a list when planning the class to ensure both in-person and remote participants are involved. Some faculty we spoke to felt that best practice was to cold or warm call in roughly equal proportions to the in-person/online ratio. Paul Hunter strongly recommends instructors always make sure to say out loud the name of the person being cold called to emphasise the recognition of the individual, wherever they are currently located.

Hybrid case session at IMD
© IMD.

At HKU Business School at The University of Hong Kong, David Lee reflects on his recent experiences of teaching in multiple modes from fully face-to-face to online only programmes: “There is no doubt that synchronous hybrid teaching is the most difficult for ensuring that all learners, both present and remote, are engaged in the same way,” he says. “Trying to equalise the experience might include having those in the physical classroom also log in to see the same images on their laptops as those online, to provide a common thread of experience, and for all, therefore, to be able to participate equally in the chat function”. He observes: “To succeed with hybrid teaching, you simply have to prepare better, which means, for example, planning break-out class activities to include members from both in-person and online joiners.”

By adding live screens, some schools have orchestrated as hybrid break-out rooms and spaces where refreshments are served. This allows online participants to remain integrated in the group at all times. It can feel lonely to go to a coffee break in your kitchen at home when the in-person class is chatting together in the campus foyer about what they just experienced. Some faculty we spoke to suggested keeping cameras on before and after class when instructors traditionally make themselves available to students for matters arising, enabling those joining remotely to also have this important informal access.

Objectives and technology

Optimising the sense of one-group learning in the hybrid classroom is strongly influenced by using technology to harmonise and equalise participant experiences as far as possible. Early in the pandemic, Harvard Business School (HBS) created its Virtual Teaching Task Force, comprising school leadership, programme management, educators, learning designers, audio visual and technology experts. The challenge: ‘How could HBS provide a safe, equitable, and engaging learning experience that would accommodate both remote and in-person learners?’ The process and outcomes of the task force have been retold in Creating the HBS Hybrid Classrooms: Collaboration, Experimentation, Equity, and Innovation. At the heart of the endeavour was a complex brief: ‘… maintaining the integrity of the classroom experience and case method pedagogy, ensuring equity for both remote and in-person students, supporting a familiar teaching environment, and keeping the community safe.’

Through a process of experimentation, the task force developed solutions to optimise and equalise the visibility and - importantly - audibility of all faculty, students (many wearing masks of course), and materials which would also enable all participants to fully engage with one another, while upholding the intimate energy of a live case class. A system of cameras and screens was evolved together with an innovative approach to ‘stitching together three separate Zoom rooms’. The role of the senior learning technologies administrator, Jessie McAskill, was highlighted in helping to create an automated control so that all three Zoom rooms opened together at the same time. Illustrating the value of teamwork in bringing differing skills to the process, this was described as: ‘one of the most essential aspects of the hybrid experience … it engages remote students and makes them feel more a part of the classroom experience’. A further simple but impactful move was developing a universal screen background for all to use, which: ‘eliminated distracting individual backgrounds and created a more consistent aesthetic between remote and in-class students.’

Pedagogical context

The Blavatnik School of Government at The University of Oxford has also rolled out a comprehensive investment in technology and support resources to make all its classrooms hybrid enabled. (Key features of the school’s approach are set out in the box below.) Closely involved in this process, Karthik Ramanna puts the technology and support in a practical and pedagogical context: “Instructors need to stay focused at all times on substantive learning,” he says. “No matter how good and well supported technology is, it can be quite complicated; instructors are human and things can arise. If an instructor’s main focus is on the technology, the learning will suffer.”

Understanding the reality for students participating online is essential: “Even if classroom technology and support for the class is state-of-the-art, online participants may be facing individual challenges, including with their own tech, such as bandwidth or poor internet connection issues, which might mean they have to participate with their video off,” he points out. Hybrid instructors need to remember that learning through a computer is more taxing than in person, information processing times are longer, there will be issues arising such as around muting, or making sure that cameras and microphones are on. Keeping in-class participants and instructors ‘safe’ may still require social distancing measures such as mask wearing, lower density seating, or the use of clear screen dividers. Such practicalities will almost certainly mean that less ground can be covered in a hybrid class. Karthik advises: “Approaching preparation and entering the class with a mindset to prioritise those learning points that are really important will certainly help the success of the session for all participants.”

The Blavatnik School hybrid approach
  • Lectures pre-recorded and accessed online-only in students’ own time.
  • Classroom time used for interactive Q&As on conceptual topics and applied case-study discussions.
  • Online Learning Facilitator supports classroom session, helps run the hybrid learning technology.
  • All classrooms are hybrid, with students in-person and online.
  • Entire system managed by a dedicated AV crew from ‘the bunker’.
  • AI software tracks participants to ensure active speakers are always in camera view.
  • Special cameras zoom in and capture classroom whiteboards.
  • Technology includes: multi-cam viewer, vision mixer, additional ceiling microphones, separate screens with online gallery view, presentation view, online speaker view, participant/chat/polling.

 The Blavatnik School of Government has made two videos on teaching during the pandemic:

 

 

PAGE 2 

Page 2

Participant experience

Following her webinar for The Case Centre ‘Moving Case Teaching Online Quickly: Best Practice’ Angela Lee of Columbia Business School advises faculty to: “Ensure you experience the session as a participant.” In the case of the hybrid classroom this means considering - and sharing - the differing experience of both those present and those joining remotely. She suggests: “Letting students know you can see them fosters a higher level of engagement, which is very important in a case class.” She recommends that issues of technology should not dominate the participant experience any more than they should that of the instructor and recommends an atmosphere of: “Clarity … Ensure that students are focusing on learning, not the logistics of online learning.”

Paul Hunter also stresses the importance of room set-up so that both in-person and online participants can see everyone and also have some flexibility in how they view everything. “We try to give choice,” he observes, “virtual participants can select a camera angle or part of the room they see, or they can focus on the instructor or, say, the slides, as you would be able to sitting in a physical class. To do this, the room has a set of cameras, which enables ongoing choice for those logged in; alternatively the instructor can block and control the cameras at their discretion to ensure combined focus on a particularly salient matter.”

Hybrid case session at the Blavatnik School of Government
© The Blavatnik School of Government. Photo: John Cairns.

Inevitably, not all schools will have the resources of flagship institutions to create bespoke hybrid teaching spaces and provide back-up technical assistance. Indeed hybrid teaching can - and must sometimes - take place with very basic infrastructure. Self isolating, or travelling, faculty can at short notice find themselves running a hybrid class from home or a hotel armed with nothing more than an iPad. Several we spoke to recommended that in this situation a teaching assistant or similar should ideally be present in the in-person class to offer local student support and trouble shoot any connection issues arising.

Whatever the set-up, any hybrid (case) class, should first and foremost be planned with the learning objectives in mind. According to David Wood, “Any use of technology should not be a choice of convenience; it has to be underpinned by a pedagogical philosophy.” He recommends considering such aspects as how available technology can be used in the preparation phase so that the class case discussion is better, and precious time in class is used to optimal effect. “By providing theoretical points in advance and having students share the analysis in small groups ahead of time, when it gets to class, both in-person and remote students can become active in leading their own colleagues through the analysis,” he explains.

Preparation and evaluation

Effective in-person case classes usually - and arguably should always - feel to participants as though they flow in an effortless way, but it is well known that detailed preparation is fundamental to achieving an appearance of spontaneity in the discussion process. What physically attended classes do traditionally have on their side is a generous stretch of time. Because of shorter online attention spans, hybrid classes tend to need to be shorter and therefore even more meticulously planned, with materials and tasks chunked to make the most impactful use of time. The right choice of flexible cases and teaching materials is also important. Increasingly, cases are being created or amended to include guidance in their teaching notes for online or hybrid use. Case authors, such as Luk Van Wassenhove at INSEAD, are now developing cases specifically designed with hybrid teaching in mind (e.g. Humanitarian Agility in Action (A): The 2015 Yemen Crisis, Are Chocolate Eaters Really SDG Smart?, and Tony's Chocolonely: The Road to 100% Slave-Free Chocolate?)

Schools that include class participation in student evaluation need to find innovative solutions for the hybrid setting to ensure all participants have the opportunity of being equally assessed. David Lee is practical: “It is invaluable to have someone else present to assist with the hybrid course logistics; not only to support the smooth running of the in-class technology and to trouble shoot, but to note down student presence, participation and engagement, including their questions and answers in the chat function. A teaching assistant taking this role really helps the instructor maintain focus on the learning in the complex hybrid environment”.

Opportunities

For all the challenges the hybrid classroom faces, it is also presenting new opportunities. Guest speakers, especially from case subject companies, have always added to the richness of a class. While it has become increasingly difficult for people to make themselves available in person during the pandemic, it has become much easier to attract a wider variety of guest participants to join the class remotely, their online presence providing a paradoxical parity and balance with the remote participants. David Wood highlights the enhanced opportunities to co-teach with other institutions and colleagues: “The hybrid classroom facilitates the opportunity not just to collaborate but to co-develop curricula; it requires additional work, but when it goes well it is very popular and stimulating for students. I now have the regular opportunity to co-teach with a case co-author at another institution and our differing perspectives on the case bring a valuable element of productive tension to the class experience,” he adds.

Hybrid case session at Ivey Business School
© Ivey Business School. Photo: Gabriel Ramos.

The hybrid classroom is also adding flexibility to course scheduling, particularly helpful for programmes such as the Executive MBA, and open, tailored or in-company executive education courses. No longer do executives need to attend away from the office for a block of several days as modules can be spread out online as required, and across a longer period.

Looking ahead

“It would seem obvious that most people, in the long run, prefer in-person learning,” says Karthik Ramanna. But, he feels it is unlikely we will go back to the classroom world as we once knew it. “Having experienced greater flexibility, people are going to want to keep it and some would rather continue to learn at home, if the learning style suits them better and where it may be more adaptable to their lives. The pandemic has changed the power of companies to demand the physical presence of staff at work and this may well become the reality for universities too.” 

David Lee believes that schools will go back to face-to-face teaching: “Some of the tools and skills instructors have developed for hybrid and online instruction that enhance learning - such as enabling technologies or guest speakers from across the globe - will almost certainly become part of a typical face-to-face class,” he predicts. “People’s teaching has really evolved through the new necessities, such as hybrid, brought about by the pandemic. In class you can see the difference between a good and a not so good teacher - online this is even clearer because negative impacts are more noticeable,” he observes.

Most ambitious schools aim to create an optimised experience for each and every participant whatever form of class they are involved in. Hybrid teaching has compelled even the best case class teachers to become masters of the enhanced skills of online teaching, and then become experts at marrying the two together into a greater whole - simultaneously. As Angela Lee puts it: “If you can teach well online, you are going to be a rock star in person. Becoming a better teacher online will help your physical teaching as it forces you to think through your entire content. If your online teaching has clarity, student engagement and accountability it will no doubt translate into great classroom teaching too.”

Looks like, in future, the hybrid class is set to live on to influence how case teaching occurs. At the very least it may assist the best case teachers with any secret ambitions to be a rock star.

This article was published in Connect, January 2022.

Contributing insights

Angela Lee
Professor of Professional Practice
Lecturer, Operations Management
Luk Van Wassenhove
Emeritus Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Paul Hunter
Director of Programs and Learning Design
Tips for hybrid teaching
  • Signal that all participants are part of one group.
  • Remember those joining remotely are not mere spectators.
  • Plan cold calling to both online and in-person groups.
  • Have in-person participants log on too.
  • Mix in-person and remote participants for break-out assignments and coffee/lunch breaks.
  • Keep cameras on before and after class for informal joining by those online.
  • Don’t allow the technology itself to become a distraction.
  • Instructors should envisage the session from the participants’ points of view.
  • Prioritise the learning objectives at all times.
  • Chunk and vary activities.
  • Get in-class support with technology or evaluation where possible.
  • Take advantage of new opportunities: e.g. guest speakers or co-teaching.

Compilation © The Case Centre, 2022.

A guide to case teaching

In this introductory guide to teaching with cases we ask why teach with cases, explore how to preparing for case teaching, and introduce some tools and techniques. 

Picture representing 'A guide to case teaching'
Picture representing 'A guide to case teaching'
A guide to case teaching

In this introductory guide to teaching with cases we ask why teach with cases, explore how to preparing for case teaching, and introduce some tools and techniques. 

Discover more