Hybrid Classes: Minimizing Butts On A Budget

Hybrid Classes: Minimizing Butts On A Budget
Summary: Setting up multiple cameras with AI tracking, re-outfitting your conference rooms for Zoom or Google Meet, and purchasing new video conferencing and telecommunications technology is costly. Here are some tips for low-cost methods to refit your class from fully in-person or fully remote to hybrid.

Tips For Setting Up Low-Cost Hybrid Classes

Despite the derrière being referenced in the title, this article does not contain diet and exercise tips. If you have taught or attended a hybrid class, you have probably noticed that the instructor invariably ends up with their back, and backside, facing one group of learners at any given time. Add to this issues such as it being faster to call on students who are in-person, hot mics from the remote students causing echoing and feedback, and too few cameras to capture the in-person classroom and whiteboard clearly, and—well, we have some trainers that are reluctant to teach using the hybrid model.

To be fair, planning time for an in-person class takes the least amount of time compared with remote instructor-led courses (R-ILC), and hybrid classes take more planning time than in-person and R-ILC. While we may review our lesson notes for in-person classes, trainers may find themselves conducting a sound check and quick run-through of the PowerPoint before an R-ILC. A hybrid run-through, meanwhile, may involve the trainer, webinar admin, and any chat moderator(s).

At the 2022 Zoomtopia conference there have been many sessions devoted to hybrid events, best practices, and different Zoom features to use when presenting a hybrid class, meeting, or event. The different Zoom features and hardware, while interesting, are an extra cost that some of us just don’t have room for in our training tech budget. Regardless of the webinar or video conferencing platform you use, here are some tips for developing and delivering a successful hybrid class on a budget.

Tips For Developing And Delivering A Successful Hybrid Class On A Budget

  1. Plan to deliver your training via PowerPoint, or another presentation, and to either annotate directly on the presentation or utilize the webinar platform’s whiteboard. If you must use the whiteboard in the in-person classroom, or conference room, be prepared to have a second camera dedicated to the room’s whiteboard.
  2. Have all the in-person learners log in to the webinar platform, so that everyone is in the online classroom. This will ensure that when their video camera is turned on all the learners can see one another, otherwise, the remote learners will be seen clearly, and the in-person learners will be blurry images as the main camera captures the whole room. In-person learners do not need to turn on their audio.
  3. Be mindful to call on remote learners. Modify the old teacher training, that reminded student teachers to not forget to call on female students and those in the back of the room, to calling on remote learners. Some remote learners may have issues with their microphones, so be prepared to have them enter their comments in the chat, and read off their comments to the entire class.
  4. If you set up breakout rooms, try to place in-person learners into different rooms with remote learners, so the in-person learners are not all in the same breakout room. Be mindful that the in-person learners may have to find a quiet spot to talk without being heard by the other in-person learners, in a separate breakout room, next to them.
  5. If you need a chat moderator or other assistance, consider asking one remote learner and one in-person learner to assist. If you have the planning time, select learners whose computer tech skills would benefit from acting as assistants. Otherwise, select assistants with good computer literacy. Make sure this assistance does not come at the expense of their learning.
  6. Build movement with emojis. The remote aspect of R-ILC teaching requires that we build in movement in an otherwise stagnant, lecture-heavy teaching format. Use emojis, hand raising, and thumbs up and down to ask for feedback and opinion and to build in movement and study activity.
  7. Be open and honest about any tech issues you may be having that limits webinar functionality.


For all the extra considerations and time planning a hybrid class takes, we must remember that they are both a tool and a solution. Webinar platforms are a tool helping us connect even when we are spread out by geography or circumstance. Webinar platforms are also a solution helping us reach one another across previously siloed modalities, which helps improve equity and accessibility for learner and trainer alike.