I am writing in response to the Report and Recommendations on Charge S-0806 on Hybrid Courses and Model of Teaching, as adopted by the University Senate on October 23, 2009, upon the recommendation of the Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee.

Given the increasing use of hybrid courses at Rutgers, I applaud the Senate’s investigation into hybrid courses and accept its recommendations regarding best practices when this mode of instruction is employed.  In addition to the teaching and learning potential provided by hybrid courses noted in the Senate report, such instruction also helps to extend Rutgers’ reach among non-traditional students, increasing access and opportunity.  With respect to the balance between online and face-to-face instruction in hybrid courses, and other matters related to academic approvals and learning goals, I will refer the Senate’s recommendations to the academic units for their consideration when making decisions about developing and implementing hybrid courses.  By copy of this memo, I am referring your recommendations to Vice President Caprio for his consideration and, in addition, am asking Executive Vice President Furmanski and the Chancellors to share these recommendations with their academic Deans so that they may be appropriately considered within the context of particular academic units.  I also urge that units conduct careful evaluations of the effectiveness of hybrid courses in comparison to more traditional ones, and to examine in particular their use by students with different levels of preparation and academic qualifications.  It may very well be that hybrid courses are more effective when taken by some students than by others or when used to deliver certain kinds or levels of course material. 

Regarding the Senate’s other recommendations, I am pleased to report that training is available for instructors wishing to use hybrid course models.  The Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research offers regular workshops and customized assistance for instructors interested in incorporating such approaches and technologies into their teaching.  Additional training workshops focusing on specific online platforms are offered through the Division of Continuing Studies, the Office of Academic Technology in Newark, and the Instructional Design and Technology Office in Camden.  Further, I understand from Arun Mukherjee that our room assignment system already has the capacity to search for all rooms that are not being used at specific times, and that he routinely assigns rooms that are used only part of the week by hybrid courses for other classes.     

The members of the Instruction, Curricula and Advising Committee have my thanks for their deliberations on this issue.  We will continue to support and monitor the appropriate use and impact of technology on teaching.
Sincerely yours,

Richard L. McCormick

c:  Ray Caprio, Vice President of Continuous Education and Outreach
    Steve Diner, Chancellor, Newark Campus
    Philip Furmanski, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Arun Mukherjee, Director of Scheduling and Space Management
    Wendell Pritchett, Chancellor, Camden Campus
    Barry Qualls, Vice President for Undergraduate Education