Hybrid Teaching Scenarios

When you’re planning a hybrid session, there are a lot of things to consider regarding what technology you have available, and what kind of audio/visual set up you can achieve in the room in which you are teaching. However, equally important is considering what you would like to do with your students, what their experience of the session is going to be, and how you might build in some interaction between the two cohorts of students.

Here, we describe some activities you can do with students in a hybrid session for:

You might also be able to use and adapt DEO and BILT guidance on creating Interactive Live Sessions and Using digital tools to support in-class interaction.


This scenario is in a Broadcast + type room (Broadcast streaming and additional online interaction eg text chat, polling)

Some students are in a room equipped for automated streaming, others are joining the stream online via the link added to Blackboard. Students joining in person have been asked beforehand to bring a device which enables them to participate in online activities during the session.

Session welcome and introduction

Introduce the session, and how it will work. Set expectations for students about how and when they can ask questions, and explain that there may be delays or repetitions.

Settling in

Start with a quick warm-up activity which can help both for community building and also to check everyone can participate. This could be in the form of a quick Mentimeter poll or word cloud activity. Keep it light to encourage participation, and recognise contributions from both the room and the online cohort.


Begin your lecture. Automated streaming will consist of both audio and projected content eg PowerPoint slides or whiteboard. For rooms with cameras you can request these to be included: see this guidance on in-room streaming controls.


Pause periodically during your lecture to allow for interactivity and to check understanding, for example using a Mentimeter poll or a Padlet. See the guide on Interactive Live Sessions for a few ideas. Consider how students watching a recording can do this, for example being able to contribute to the Padlet at a later stage. Allow plenty of time for the online students to participate.

Options for questions

Live questions. For questions live during the session you could use an online backchannel available to all (eg Mentimeter Q&A ) or Padlet for text questions which you then read out. If participants in the room ask questions with voice, you should repeat these so online students can hear them.

Asynchronous questions

For asynchronous questions, eg before or after the live session you could use a Unit Teams channel or Blackboard Forum. This can be useful for those watching recordings, and students who need more time to reflect (eg neurodiverse students or those with English as an additional language).

Closing/wrapping up

Leave space at the end for wrapping up and final questions. Maybe drop in and say thanks via chat, and check in with the online group. Ask them to post how they feel with emojis etc.

Small group

This scenario is in a DIY interactive room (Plug in mics and webcams for DIY interactive audio and video conferencing).

In this scenario, the session has fewer than 30 students, some of whom are in the classroom and some online via Blackboard Collaborate or MS Teams. In smaller DIY interactive rooms, lecturers will need to bring their own technology set up to enable streaming – such as a USB microphone and webcam. See this guide for instructions on how to set up a DIY session. Students joining the session online have been given the link in advance, via Teams or Blackboard, depending on the tool being used. Students joining in person have been asked to bring a device which enables them to participate in online activities during the session.

It’s good practice for online students keep their mics and video off unless you ask them to participate, to ensure a good audio experience. However, this can make the online students seem more distant, so we recommend they add a profile picture to Teams or Collaborate to give them a personalised presence.

Settling in

It’s good practice to start each session with an easy activity which gets students interacting, and which helps the online and in class students connect with each other. Something like a Mentimeter word cloud, pin on image or scale activity, or a whole group Padlet around a relevant spark question, would work well. This can be done during the ’set up’ time, while everyone is arriving and getting settled in, to give the online students something to be doing while they wait.

Streaming content

You can present – using slides or by sharing other web based content – to both cohorts using screensharing and a microphone/webcam. There are considerations for how to do this depending on the set up you have – for example making sure that the microphone you use can pick up your audio you if you walk around the room. Once you have your set up, this part of a session will feel pretty similar for all students, regardless of whether they are online or in the classroom.

As with fully online teaching, it’s important to consider how well your online cohort can see the content of slides. If they have small screens, they may struggle with very dense slides, with lots of detail. It’s good practice to share your slides in advance so that students can view them outside of the Teams or Collaborate session window if they need to.

Discussion activity

For small group discussions, the best set up is achieved with separate online and in person groups. If you have groups which mix online and in-room students, it’s difficult to create a set up where both cohorts can hear each other, particularly considering background noise in the room.

For hybrid discussion activities, students can really benefit from some structure to help facilitate their group time. Online students can find breakout rooms daunting or difficult to engage in, and there is a risk that the in-class students will tend to get a better experience because they have the benefit of non-verbal cues and may find it easier to attract the lecturer’s attention. In 2020, Student Digital Champions created a one-page breakout room toolkit around students’ concerns with breakout rooms, and some solutions to improve the experience, which might be worth considering here.

Make sure there is a clear task or objective and that all students are happy they know what to do, consider allowing a minute or two for students to gather their own thoughts before arriving in the breakout room (freewriting is a good way to do this) assign group roles, give a clear time limit, and have a clear output required (what do they need to do?). Consider keeping these groups the same for a session or block of sessions to allow students to develop rapport and confidence with each other. For more ideas, see our Breakout room best practice guide.

Consider how all groups will report back, if they need to. Shared documents work well as a way to ask groups to summarise their discussion without necessarily requiring audio from students in a plenary. This also provides a way for in-class and online groups to see each other working, which helps to close the divide between the two cohorts. Allow students time to review what other groups have written/added to their section/document.