Tips for Creating a Hybrid Classroom

Remote learning isn’t a new idea: distance learning via mail has existed since the mid-1800s, and the founders of the successful ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s learned their craft from a Penn State correspondence course in 1978.  The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic transformed remote education from a secondary means of learning to a primary one.  Schools and universities couldn’t cancel classes indefinitely, turning to software like Blackboard and apps like Zoom to resume teaching.  While many institutions have returned to in-person instruction, COVID spikes continue to temporarily close campuses to curb transmission.  Colleges like Bentley University have gone beyond temporary measures and invested in permanent hybrid learning setups such as outdoor and hybrid classroom spaces.

Whether your school intends to use remote instruction as needed or has embraced it as a continuing education tool, the hybrid classroom is here to stay.  Let’s take a look at some factors to consider when either renovating an existing classroom for combined learning or constructing a hybrid classroom from scratch.

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Thinking Outside the Building: Designing an Outdoor Classroom

Outdoor learning isn’t a new new concept: outdoor classrooms may have become increasingly trendy in recent years, but California has an “environmental education” movement dating back to the 1960s, while Waldkindergärten (“forest kindergartens”) started cropping up in Europe as early as the 1950s.  With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, historians and journalists pointed out that open-air schools helped curtail the transmission of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases in the early 1900s, and may prove useful in the present crisis.

Earlier this year, Manor College enlisted our help in creating a new outdoor classroom for the benefit of their students and faculty.  In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the design considerations that we encountered on this project.

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