The first-ever hybrid fair was recently hosted at the University of Pretoria (UP) to celebrate the hybrid model of teaching and learning.
In his opening address at the fair, Prof Norman Duncan, the UP Vice-Principal: Academic said: 'Today we celebrate diverse teaching styles and approaches that are or can be used to enhance the student learning experience and student success. This fair allowed the role-players in the field of teaching innovation to engage and network with each other and to showcase the University's commitment to harnessing a range of technology-mediated teaching methods in the service of student success.'
The Science Teaching and Learning Forum (SCITAL Forum) of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UP took the lead by organising this fair.
The University adopted the hybrid teaching and learning model which is an optimal blend of face-to-face and virtual (or online) learning opportunities for students, which provides the best of both worlds – face-to-face teaching where it is most suitable, but enriched by the wide range of virtual learning tools and products that are becoming available.
According to Prof Marietjie Potgieter, Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, 'there are many delivery modes in a hybrid model, starting with the well-known lecture (face-to-face), self-study by students and then importantly, the online component to support student learning. Hybrid means engaging students in online-activities. The different types of activities are numerous, which were showcased at the fair. UP is one of the leading universities in terms of Blackboard use (that is the learning management system that hosts clickUP). clickUP is the virtual space where students get everything from timetables, announcements, notes, right through to their marks.'
Some of the hybrid activities that were showcased at the fair were Turnitin, the plagiarism detecting package, TurningPoint Technologies with their clickers (audience response devices), Blackboard with all its functionalities, mobile apps, YouTube videos, narrative PowerPoints and many more. From the electronic textbook side we had Cengage, Pearson, Wiley and McGraw Hill and we engaged them in a panel discussion to share what is up-coming. From UP's own stable, we showcased our Creative Studios and the support they supply to lecturers, a demonstration of how to use QR codes, cahoot, as well as the library Makerspace (3D printer).
Dr Ina Louw, Educational Consultant at the University and a member of SCITAL, emphasised that 'the current situation in our schools necessitates that universities support learners more than ever before and the online space is ideal for that. We scaffold their learning by presenting them with quizzes (where they can have multiple attempts and get shown where they go wrong) and regular online tests to allow them to measure their own progress. We do not plan to get rid of our excellent lecturers, we just strengthen their hands with technology.'