Success Project

29 Successful hybrid teaching and learning requires a lot of planning and creative use of online tools. If students have the technological equipment required and access to software, hybrid teaching and learning makes it possible for students living far from campus to attend class. Thus, hybrid learning does offer a way for universities to make university education more inclusive (Shiano, 2021). Blended learning is a relatively new concept in education that may be interpreted in various ways. It is often considered an approach that combines contact classes with online classes to enhance the flexible and smooth participation of students to learning. As such, this interpretation requires both the physical presence of teachers and students in contact classes and the online presence of both parties in online classes. It is, in this case, an approach that demands joint scheduling for both types of lessons (Rao, 2019). During the COVID-19 pandemic when for example, universities had to swiftly move from classroom teaching to online teaching, the contact classes disappeared for more than two years and online teaching and learning became the new normal. The emphasis of learning and implementing courses turned to online and virtual formats and forums. Virtual implementations are, in this case, asynchronous where courses, their content and their activities are available anytime and anyplace. Blended learning in a virtual or asynchronous framework means that one, two or more frequent online meetings with teachers and students are made available over the course implementation. The scheduled, not always mandatory, online meetings take place often at the beginning of the implementation, sometimes in the middle and often at the end. Occasionally, students can also request an online meeting if the content or activities of the virtual implementation are very demanding or difficult (Rao, 2019). To find the right approach to implement a blended learning course, depends on the digital tools available for teachers and students. Most of the universities offer digital learning platforms available also for online use including on mobile devices. The quality of the learning platform and the tools available depends, of course, on the resources available to individual universities. The universities’ pedagogical strategy is also an important factor as it steers the methods of teaching and learning, whether delivered online, face-to-face or a combination of the two. However, during the pandemic students were exposed to the benefits of the flexibility of online implementations. No longer was there a need to rush to campuses and classes when one could join the course online from home. However, there is always a need to ask questions and communicate with others during lessons that can make an asynchronous implementation very challenging. 3.6. Blended Learning