Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE)

Teaching in Different Formats

Basics of Teaching in Different Format

The principles of good teaching and good course design apply to any course format including face to face, hybrid, synchronous remote, asynchronous remote, or combination formats. Transparency, inclusion and accessibility, and active learning can be integrated into any course format.

We offer a framework of Design - Build - Teach - Improve for creating and enhancing courses in any format.


  1. Determine your course mode designation: Cal Poly Pomona Instruction Modes explains the differences between Face-to-Face, Synchronous, Asynchronous, Hybrid (synchronous or asynchronous), and HyFlex course formats at Cal Poly Pomona.
  2. Write or update course learning objectives: Learning objectives communicate to students what they are expected to learn, and also provide guidance for you, the instructor, for measuring and describing students' mastery of course content. Clear learning objectives contribute to transparency and fairness in a course.  Use the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs to help build clear and measurable learning objectives.
  3. Write an Aligned Course Plan: Ensure that your course activities and assessments really reflect what you want your students to learn by using this Course Plan Worksheet template (doc).
  4. Plan Out the Interactions Your Students Will Experience: Include a combination of all three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, and Student-Student) in your course for an impactful learning experience.
  5. Consider Flipping Your Class: By having students review lecture material before coming to class you free up valuable in-class time for interaction, active learning, and problem-solving.  Learn more at the Flipped Learning Network 


  1. Use Canvas to Conduct Your Course: Canvas is Cal Poly Pomona’s official Learning Management System. Canvas helps students to stay connected with their instructors and classmates, and can be used to support any course format. At a bare minimum, instructors should use Canvas to share the course syllabus, communicate with students regularly via announcements or the Canvas in-box, and to keep student grades updated.
  2. Use the QLT Course Template to Effectively Structure Your Canvas Course: Add the Quality Learning and Teaching (QLT) Course Template to your courses from the Canvas Commons by logging-in to Canvas and select the Commons button from the left menu, then search for “CPP QLT Template.” You can import the QLT template from there.  Contact for help if needed.
  3. Use the Canvas Rich Content Editor to Build Rich Learning Experiences: The Rich Content Editor in Canvas makes it easy to share text, images, videos, documents, and more with your students.
  4. Use Kaltura and Kaltura Capture to Share and Create Video Content: Kaltura is the official video streaming service for Cal Poly Pomona.  View CAFE’s Kaltura, Technology Tutorial video to learn more.
  5. Ensure Your Course Materials Are Accessible: Visit CAFE’s Creating Accessible Instructional Materials page to learn more about making accessible Word documents, Powerpoints, PDFs, and websites.


  1. Introduce Yourself and Your Course: Personalizing your online presence helps to build a relationship with your students, especially in remote courses.  One great way to do this is by providing an intro video.  View MediaVision’s Video Quality - Tips and Tricks to get started.
  2. Communicate Effectively with Your Students: Establishing clear guidelines for communication with your students can save a lot of time and stress.  Good communication also includes soliciting feedback from students on how the course is going.  We suggest giving a survey around the 3rd week of the term.  Good communication also entails providing timely feedback to students on their activities and assignments.
  3. Use Active Learning Techniques: This document of 200 Interactive Learning Techniques (pdf) gives a lot of options for getting students engaged.  Pick a maximum of 3 techniques and try integrating them into your course.
  4. Use Authentic Assessments: At CPP we pride ourselves on “learn by doing,” so ensure that your assessments ask students to actually do something. Indiana University’s Authentic Assessment page gives a good primer on how to create assignments that match our polytechnic credo.
  5. Consider Best Practices: Check out UNLV’s Teach Online: Best Practices and Research for more strategies and techniques to improve your course. 

Top Hybrid Course Resources

Hyflex Instruction - Guidelines for Department Chairs and Faculty

HyFlex (Hybrid-Flexible) is a relatively new instructional approach that simultaneously offers students three options for learning content: (1) Attending lecture in-person, (2) attending lecture synchronously online through Zoom, and (3) watching recordings of lecture and completing class activities asynchronously. Students may vary their modality at any time. HyFlex was originated by Dr. Brian Beatty at CSU San Francisco for graduate courses in Education, with the intent of offering students course format flexibility that would allow them to meet course learning outcomes while maintaining their other responsibilities.

This document is designed to provide Department Chairs and potential HyFlex instructors with guidelines and recommendations that are based on results from a pilot project conducted at Cal Poly Pomona during 2021-2022.  In addition, you may wish to review materials from an emerging national community of HyFlex practitioners.

Policy guidelines and recommendations when preparing to offer HyFlex courses:

  • HyFlex is designed to give students the flexibility to select an instructional mode that works best for them. HyFlex does not give instructors added flexibility in their schedule. Instructors must attend each class session in-person.
  • HyFlex is more appropriate for courses in which students are highly motivated, such as major courses, upper division courses, and graduate courses. Lower division courses and lab courses may be less appropriate.
  • Because of the extra considerations when teaching HyFlex, it is recommended that instructors utilize HyFlex format only for courses that they are very experienced with.
  • If the instructor requires students to attend class in-person on certain dates (e.g., for taking quizzes and exams), the instructor will need to provide those dates well in advance. The dates must be input into BroncoDirect prior to enrollment to allow students to determine if they can meet the requirements of the course. The instructor cannot require more than 25% of the course meetings to be in-person.
  • All university policies regarding issues such as accessibility of instructional materials, student privacy, etc., apply to HyFlex courses.
  • Departments should develop additional necessary department-level guidelines for their programs. Instructors should be aware of and follow department protocols.

Guidelines and recommendations when teaching HyFlex courses:

  • Instructors should be highly familiar with and able to utilize readily the HyFlex technology prior to teaching a HyFlex section. The following CPP IT website provides the location of HyFlex classrooms, a list of equipment and software available in HyFlex classrooms, HyFlex operational tutorials and guides, and information about how to request assistance and in-room training.
  • HyFlex courses demand strong organizational skills from both instructors and students. To assist students with time management, instructors are encouraged to require students early on to create a personal plan for how they will learn in the HyFlex section. For example, students can list the days they will attend in-person, attend synchronously on Zoom, and watch recordings asynchronously (e.g., Mondays and Wednesdays in-person, Fridays asynchronously). For days they will watch recordings asynchronously, students can list when they will watch the recordings (e.g., within 24 hours after lecture, on Wednesday and Saturday nights, etc.). Note that students are allowed to deviate from their plan at any time.
  • Instructors always must be mindful that they are teaching to three audiences simultaneously – students in the classroom, students watching synchronously online, and students watching recordings asynchronously. While instructors may naturally favor students in the classroom because they are physically closer, great effort should be made to not neglect synchronous and asynchronous students.
  • It may be difficult to implement discussions between students attending in-person and synchronously online. Instructors who utilize in-class discussions may need to develop strategies to mitigate this challenge. The Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE) can offer assistance in helping develop strategies to increase student engagement.
  • Questions asked by students in the classroom may not be picked up by microphones well, disadvantaging students watching synchronously and asynchronously. Therefore, instructors should repeat a student’s question before answering. Repeating student observations and comments is also helpful.
  • Early in the semester, instructors should watch at least one of their recordings to understand better the experience of students who decide to learn synchronously online or asynchronously. If the instructor is unsatisfied with the audio or video quality, it may be possible to either adjust one’s teaching style (e.g., write larger if the writing appears small in the recording) or acquire new hardware (e.g., use a lapel microphone).
  • Recordings should be posted on the class Canvas site within 24 hours after class so asynchronous students can stay current in the class.