As the name implies, a blended course blends the best of online and face-to-face teaching methods. The term “blended” is often used interchangeably with the term “hybrid”. In addition, the field is characterized by several definitions and practices.*
ELO Design and Delivery considers “Blended” as a broad term that includes two teaching approaches, Flipped and Hybrid. The Flipped and the Hybrid models differ in the amount of “seat time” required. Seat time is the time students are required to spend in class.
The seat time in a Flipped course remains the same as in a traditional class. The main change lies in the types of activities that take place in the classroom. Activities like lectures that typically take place in a traditional classroom, are moved online. This results in instructors getting more class time to engage students in active learning exercises, address their misconceptions, and clarify doubts. More information on Flipped Learning is available on the CELT website at Blended Learning and the Flipped Classroom.
The seat time in a Hybrid course, on the other hand, is typically reduced. For e.g., in a 16-week semester hybrid course, instead of the traditional 3 hours per week, students may meet as little as 3 hours in class for the whole semester (an hour in the beginning, an hour in the middle, and an hour at the end of the semester). Or, instead of meeting three hours per week, a class might meet two hours and shift the remaining one hour online. Thus, the total amount of seat time for the semester is reduced by 16 hours.
Regardless of the approach, the learning experience in a well-designed blended course is expected to be seamless as learners move between the virtual and the real world.
* Blended Course Design: A Synthesis of Best Practices (2012) by McGee, P. & Reis, A.