Hybrid Learning: Experiences from the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies

Tanushri ROY & Siriwan LIM
Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies

Tanushri and Siriwan take us through their experience of conducting a hybrid tutorial session for their module, including how they prepared and conducted the hybrid session, students’ responses, and the key lessons they have  learnt from it.

Image courtesy of edtechdigest
Recommended Citation
Roy, T., & Lim, S. (2021, July 21). Hybrid learning: Experiences from the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. Teaching Connections. https://blog.nus.edu.sg/teachingconnections/2021/07/21/hybrid-learning-experiences-from-the-alice-lee-centre-for-nursing-studies/

 

In the face of COVID 19, we had to adapt and adopt online teaching as the main teaching medium. After spending a semester with online teaching, student feedback has been mixed, where some preferred face-to-face learning activities while others preferred online learning. When our department decided to try out the hybrid learning model, we as the module leads of NUR2123 “Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Nursing Practice III” decided to pilot it to explore if it can be adopted as another teaching medium. We share our experiences in this post.

 

Preparing the Shift

The module comprises three components—Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Nursing Practice—and is taught in the second year of our undergraduate nursing programme. We decided to pilot four groups (from a total of 15 groups) for the tutorials, which involves case-based learning (refer to a sample collaborative case study). Each group comprised 20 students. We planned to have 20 students onsite and 20 students online, where students can choose whether to be onsite or offsite. The aim was to provide a comfortable learning environment to students, wherever that is. Many of our colleagues expressed interest in the pilot project and we attended the training on Hybrid Learning conducted by the NUSMed Education Technology team. We received hands-on experience, providing some clear-cut ideas which helped us plan for our sessions.

 

Conducting The Sessions

We needed earlier preparation to set up the cameras and microphones. As the onsite students started arriving at the seminar room, safe distancing measures were observed. Once they have settled down, students joining online arrived virtually using Zoom. The onsite students were also encouraged to join Zoom, so that the Zoom breakout rooms had both onsite and online students for better interaction. Students discussed their assigned topic in their subgroups and made their presentations on the case in the main chatroom. There was enough interactivity between students onsite and online, with the tutor moderating the whole session. This was followed by a quiz using Kahoot or Google Forms. The quiz-based discussion was also interactive. It was observed by the module leads who attended each session that we improved with each session as we learned and planned for the next session.

Figure 1. Hybrid sessions in progress

 

Figure 2. Student interaction between students onsite and those online.

 

Post-session Feedback

Feedback was taken from both students and tutors. The tutors were generally satisfied with the hybrid approach, though some suggested that equipment-wise, the camera views and quality of the speakers can be improved. Student feedback was also encouraging. Most students, especially those onsite, were overjoyed to return to school, which was evident from their interaction. Figure 3 shows feedback from students who attended these sessions.

Figure 3. Student feedback presented as a word cloud.

 

According to the survey findings (see Table 1 in the Appendix), majority of students preferred attending the live tutorials online. They rated the tutorial content and the hybrid approach favourably. Meanwhile, the onsite students had no issue with the audio quality of their online classmates, although students who were online had concerns about the audio quality of their onsite classmates. About 41% of respondents agreed the hybrid tutorial experience was better than a fully online/webcast tutorial.  

 

Recommendations

We gained valuable experience from conducting these pilot hybrid sessions, as summarised below:

  1. Prior planning is essential. The training sessions conducted by the NUSMed Education Technology team were helpful in providing insight into what we were getting into1.
  2. Conduct a post-session debrief. A debrief at the end of each session helps to improve the next session. Team members should coordinate well with each other. If possible, it is advisable to attend each other’s sessions.
  3. Ensure students are briefed about the sessions in advance. Students need to be well briefed in advance so that they are mentally ready for the tutorial’s hybrid format (Refer to a sample of instructions to students attending onsite and online sessions).
  4. Encourage onsite students to come early for the session. On the day of the hybrid session, students should arrive at least 15 minutes earlier, so that the actual teaching hours are not compromised.
  5. Collate post-tutorial feedback. A post-tutorial survey to gather feedback about the pilot session from both the students and tutors helps to improve the next session.
  6. Reflect on key learning points for future improvements. It is important to reflect on the areas of improvement suggested and incorporate them where appropriate in the next session.
  7. Be cognisant of tutorial group dynamics. The dynamics within one tutorial group can differ from another, such as students’ responses to tutors’ questions. While we have a standardised lesson plan for the pilot session, tutors can adapt the activities based on their tutorial group’s dynamics For example, when some tutors found their online group to be exceptionally quiet, the chatroom was replaced with quizzes.

 

Conclusion

The pandemic has prompted innovative ways to deliver the same quality of education to our learners, despite the limitations of not having face-to-face lessons. As Singapore enters Phase 3, more students were allowed to attend onsite sessions with a fixed quota. This prompted us to give hybrid learning a try. Hybrid learning is a delicate process that requires input from a variety of professionals to reach its full potential, including the teaching, technological as well as the administrative teams. Our overall experience shows that an effective team, teamwork and proper evaluation of the new pedagogy will surely benefit the students’ learning experience, whether onsite or online.

 

Tanushri ROY is a Senior Lecturer at the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. Having a medical degree allows Dr Roy to mentor nursing students and allied health students in areas such as anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. She employs a range of pedagogies such as blended learning, problem-based learning, team exercises, proper use of Learning Management Systems and traditional teaching, in her instruction. Her research interests include educational leadership, patient safety and community medicine. She has successfully conducted various healthcare projects  funded by organisations such as the World Bank.

Tanushri can be reached at nurtr@nus.edu.sg.

Siriwan LIM is a Senior Lecturer at Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies. Siriwan has more than a decade of nursing experiences working in the acute hospitals as a Critical Care Nurse and Infection Control Practitioner. She has received teaching grant and seed funding to conduct research on peer mentoring and patient empowerment studies. Her current research areas of interest include nursing education, patient education and empowerment of patients with chronic diseases. She had received awards for productivity and innovation, and teaching excellence.

Siriwan can be reached at nursl@nus.edu.sg.

 

Endnote

  1. The training sessions were conducted by our colleague Caroline Zamora Bersalona (medcnz@nus.edu.sg) from the NUSMed Education Technology team.

 

Acknowledgements:

We want to thank the NUSMed Education Technology team for their continuous support in making this learning possible. We would also like to thank the Year 2 Nursing students who participated in the hybrid learning, our teaching team as well as the administrative staff of Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies for the great teamwork.