My hybrid course in a nutshell (Launch Academy – BA 367H)

Launch Academy (BA 367) is a one-session-per-week experiential course for students who would like to launch a new venture while in college. Students come from across campus, from any college or major, and include undergraduates and graduate students. The common element is that they have an inspired idea that they want to develop. Their ideas become their class projects in Launch Academy, and we work to test and develop them into viable new venture models.

Student projects are very diverse, and the baseline business knowledge of each student varies. So the instruction covers topics generally applicable to any new venture, including customer discovery, business modeling, promotions strategies, planning, and pitching. Then students learn-by-doing.

For the first half of the course, the course flows with a repeating pattern. For each new topic: we’ll preview the subject and assignments in class; then students review learning materials and do an activity before the next; then we discuss and review the student’s work in the following class; then students review and discuss each other’s work online. I call this pattern “COCO” (for Class-Online-Class-Online).

In the second half of the term we tie it all together, culminating in a big pitch presentation in Week 8. Student present their developing concepts for review by an external panel of industry mentors and judges, who are (thankfully) recruited by the InnovationX Center in the College of Business.

Not every student has a viable business model in the end, but all will have walked through a strategic process for testing and developing their idea. Whether their class projects ultimately lead to successful ventures, or not, all students will develop skills that are widely applicable in entrepreneurship and the wider world of business.

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WSE 425/525 Timber Tectonics in the Digital Age in a Nutshell

The “Timber tectonics” course is designed in collaboration with the University of Oregon, Department of Architecture. This course is to designed to expose a multi-disciplinary group of students to integrated project delivery approaches. Students in this class come from the WSE’s Renewable Material Program or are graduate students dual majoring in WSE and CCE. These students will work on a collaborative project, a small-scale timber construction, together with Architecture students. Students learn how to use the Rhinoceros Grasshopper parametric design and Karamba structural analysis software for the design and analysis of their collaborative project.

The online content is organized in a series of short lessons (totaling 2 hours of instruction) addressing three main topics – (a) structural systems; (b) materials and technology; (c) parametric modeling tutorials. Some of these “capsule” lessons are meant to fill some knowledge gaps in the different disciplinary groups – so students will select the instructional material more appropriate for their knowledge level and expertise area. Students interact online in three dedicated Forums: 1) Case study Discussion; 2) Parametric Modeling Q&A; 3) Team Project and Peer-review. MS Teams will be the main online platform for the interaction among students and for the team work. Canvas will be used to share the course content and for grading. The public course blog will be used to post intermediate and final versions of the team projects.

Project teams will meet weekly (in class and remotely with UO) for 2-hour labs; at the end of the term, most of this time will be spent in the RM Digital Fabrication Lab and Wood shop to fabricate details of the designed building. Additional class time (80 min./weekly) will be dedicated to 1) review topics of the online modules and discuss applications of the studied concepts in architectural projects; 2) review and troubleshoot software exercises.

There will be in total four face-to-face meetings with Architecture students: 1) kickoff meeting and team building activities; 2) and 3) Project review meetings; 4) Final project presentation.


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ENGR 350: Sustainable Engineering in a Nutshell

ENGR 350 is a Bacc Core class which explores the relationship between technology and sustainability.  We cover the entire gauntlet of population trends, climate change, energy, water, food, agriculture, infrastructure, global nutrient cycles, the circular economy, and sustainability policy.  Two major threads which run through the whole course are 1) the inevitable complexity in decision making ; and 2) the importance of having verifiable information from solid sources.  The course typically has 80-100 students from all majors and all levels.  We strongly encourage non-engineers to enroll, though the majority of the class usually ends up being an engineering major.  ENGR 350 has been previously offered as both a traditional lecture course on campus as well as an online course, but this Fall will be Hybrid for the first time.  The main motivation for bringing the course to the Hybrid format is to allow for more student discovery and exploration of facts.  Much of the content is best digested at one’s own pace.

Class meeting time (once per week, 80 minutes) will be broken up into a 5-10 min micro-lecture (quick concepts or recap of current events) and a 45-60 minute team activity with recap discussion.  Remaining time will be left for teams to work on their term project, which is a poster.  The entire class will present their posters during Finals week.

Online, students will have approximately 3-5 hours of total activity.  This is spread out among weekly readings and quizzes (1-2 h), biweekly written assignments (1-2 h), video lectures (<20 min), and online Class Participation activities (30 min).  In addition, students are expected to put ~10 hours into their final poster.  The online content is designed to give students the proper context so they can contribute in a meaningful way to the class activities and discussions.


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Graphic Design Technology & Production in a Nutshell

The first course any newly admitted graphic design pro school students takes as part of their new cohort is GD 200: Technology and Production. This course was initial envisioned as a level-setting tool, to get all students in a single cohort up to the same level of competency in design software, so that conversations and assignments would be equitable going forward. Some students come to the program with significant experience in the Adobe Creative Suite, while others have rarely opened the software. But beyond using the tools, it’s necessary for students to understand that the process of design does not begin with the computer at all. The hands-on, exploratory, process-based, active thinking skills required have been getting the short shrift in the current version of the course.

Upon transitioning to hybrid format, the process of organizing the content revealed several areas where improvement in continuity and integration could be achieved. The course consists of a series of textbook-based technical exercises that allow the students to explore individual tools within three Adobe programs, paired with longer-term creative illustration and design exercises that incorporate design process with the tools. The course culminates in the design of a travel poster and brochure for a national park.

In order to better link the necessary but somewhat dry textbook lessons with the creative projects, the hybrid version of the course will employ in-person workshops, where the instructor will walk the students through the process of concepting and strategizing a designed project. Then, the learning will swing back to the online environment, where students will post drafts and process work in a discussion format, and give each other written critique. Interaction on projects will in this way integrate the activities done in class with the online delivery, offering further touchpoints with each student, and more coherently guiding them through the process of creation.

The switch to hybrid delivery was key for identifying better use of class time, and for adding structure to a course that lacked structure in the past. For 2nd year students who are not yet accustomed to the design process, this new format will be important for setting them up for success in both this class and future courses in the department.

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Hybrid ECE 471/571 in a Nutshell

I teach VLSI in the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The further I explore hybridizing the course, the more I am persuaded that this is the best mode for teaching the material.
VLSI happens at the microscopic level. VLSI describes the circuitry that runs your phone or computer. We squeeze billions of devices into the area of a postage stamp. It is not rocket science. Most of the concepts are relatively straight forward. The difficult bit is gaining the intuition. We can’t assemble a VLSI chip in lab on an afternoon. One can’t view electrical current moving down a wire and sloshing back and forth until it reaches its level. Hence, VLSI circuits are designed poorly because engineers don’t have a sense of their scale. The inroads to the material are long dry chapters full of equations.
But there are a number of animations created by companies like Intel and Samsung that capture in a couple entertaining minutes what remains elusive in pages of formula. There are free tools that allow one to simulate, tinker, and get immediate feedback. Traditionally these moment of tinkering are done during two hour labs in large learning chunks, Online, one can slowly meter out bite size exercises. Also, it is a rapidly evolving field. One of the reading sources I will assign  is the tech blog for the primary tool supplier for the industry. This will allow the class to stay relevant.
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Hybrid FIN445 Course in a Nutshell

FIN445, International Financial Management, is the capstone course in the Finance Program. All Finance majors are required to take this course. In addition, this course is open to some (about 5 per year) exchange students from Europe. Four sections are offered each year, with one in the fall and 3 in the spring term, for a total of about 150 students. The first hybrid FIN445 will be offered in fall 2020 and the plan is to convert all future sections to the hybrid format. Approximately 50% of the class will take place face-to-face (1 hour and 50 minutes per week) and 50% will be done on-line. I believe offering this course in a hybrid format not only allows effective delivery of the course materials but also provides students flexibility in their schedule given that this is usually their last course before graduation.

The course focuses on issues faced by global financial managers. Key topics include the fundamentals of the macroeconomic environment of international financial management, the financial environment in which a multinational firm and its managers must function, and the foreign exchange management and financial management in a multinational firm. Students will be exposed to business-related global issues, processes, trends, and systems inside and outside the classroom.

Generally speaking, content in Finance courses tends to be a combination of theory/definitions and quantitative problem-solving/case analyses. Course delivery related to theory and definitions could be more efficiently and effectively delivered using an online platform, whereas a classroom setting is more effective in going over problems and cases. For online activities, my plan is to use Canvas to facilitate the online discussions and student group updates. Short videos of lectures will be posted on Canvas for students to watch before face-to-face discussions on related topics. In addition, I have adopted the MyLab Finance platform from the publisher Pearson to allow students to work on assignments and take quizzes online. Group project presentations and exams will take place during the face-to-face sessions.

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Hybrid BB 453 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques-in a nutshell.

Hybrid BB 453, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques, is designed to introduce upper-level, non-major students Bioengineers) to the practice of biochemistry and molecular biology used to “reveal how life works”.  Students in this major are preparing for careers in biomedical industry, academia and health professions. The instructional team plans to collaborate with the bioengineering faculty to identify  platform proteins with medical and industrial relevance .

Students will interact in small teams in the blended course to design, carry out, and present their experimental findings.  Students will gain practical hands-on training during one four-hour laboratory session each week. The weekly online portion will include  demonstration videos,  problem sets with assessments, and discussions of research papers.  The online experiences will be integrated with the in-lab experiences to promote critical thinking and development of practical skills.

Student teams will present a research poster at a virtual poster fair.  Each student will also prepare an individual flash talk.  These capstone assessments are designed to help students integrate and communicate concepts learned in the hybrid format.

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WGSS 111: Our Course in a Nutshell

“Feminist Perspectives on Current Events” is a 100-level course geared towards students who have never taken a Women, Gender, and Sexuality class before and most likely will not become WGSS majors. Our goal is to develop political and media literacies by encouraging students to consider the “why, where, what and how” of local, national, and global current events. The course looks broadly at current events associated with climate, health, politics, family, religion, education, sports, etc. and explores the social and global contexts shaping such events. We anticipate an enrollment of about 50-75 students and are meeting once a week for an hour and twenty minutes.

Course learning outcomes are relatively low level on the Bloom taxonomy and include the importance of recognising social institutions and their implication in current events as well as explaining how cultural and historical contexts impact the social meaning and significance attached to these events (Bloom: Understanding). The course also requires students to apply feminist lenses to critically analyse contemporary issues (Bloom: Applying). This latter objective does not expect all students to embrace feminist ideals, but understand and apply them. Students may or may not “agree” with aspects of course readings or a perspective presented, but do need to recall basic concepts, explain or identify them, and draw connections or conclusions among them by applying feminist approaches. Finally, a course learning objective is the appraisal of social and cultural contexts and their role in knowledge production (Bloom: Evaluating). This latter is important in helping students understand the origins and consequences of certain kinds of knowledges and their relationship to social justice.

Learning activities and student assessment are bundled and looped through online assignments and classroom mini-lecture and large and small group discussions. Key assignments include a weekly current issues analysis assignment that requires students to select an issue (short article, blog post, art, graphic, video or movie clip, poem, song lyrics, advertisement, short story, etc.) from online media content that relates to the theme of the week and use course readings as well as lecture and class discussion to interpret/analyse this issue. We also have a political analysis assignment that requires students to investigate organisations/businesses, etc. with an online presence that address and/or transform issues associated with a weekly theme of their choice. The question they apply is how that group/business/organisation shapes the news (knowledge broadly defined) about that topic. In the physical classroom, students share these assignments in small groups and each group selects one to showcase the large group. Another assignment is the community event paper, which is “outside” both the classroom and online activities. Students participate in a community “event,” broadly defined, and write a short paper discussing how the event participates in knowledge construction about a contemporary issue. Finally, students will be engaged in small groups on a knowledge collage assignment. We had anticipated using the graphic design software,, but are reconsidering that given some of its drawbacks. The objective of this assignment is the assemblage of diverse “takes” on a single issue so that students can learn to critically engage with the ways in which multiple narratives and perspectives constitute public knowledge on current events (the “politics of knowledge” approach utilised throughout the term). This group project includes online collaboration in the production of the product as well as an in-class group presentation of the group’s objectives and process, challenges and surprises.

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Hybrid WSE 455 in a Nutshell

WSE 455, Industrial Marketing in the Forest Sector, is a small enrollment course designed to orient students to both the theory and practice of industrial marketing within forest products companies. Students graduating from our program typically go into marketing or management within Oregon forest industry companies.

In its hybrid form, the course will meet face-to-face once per week for 50 minutes. Nearly half of these will be for visiting industry speakers with the remainder involving exercises, discussion, and student presentations. There are 3-6 online “lectures” for each of the ten weeks. Most of these are traditional lectures, but approximately five are short interviews with industry managers. Some lectures will include small quizzes that must be completed before proceeding with the remainder of the recording. Each week includes an online quiz. There will be only one exam in the course, a peer reviewed mid-term. Classroom experiences are designed to illustrate the principles explored in the online content for each week.

The culminating experience for the students is interaction with an industry mentor from which the student produces a description of “marketing practice” within the mentor’s firm. Output from this will be both a report and a recorded presentation. This is designed to illustrate how marketing theory and marketing practice differ.


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In a Nutshell: CS 461 Hybrid Course Development

Overview of the Class

Senior Design, or CS461, is a required course for every student to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science. The class is taken as part of a three-term sequence by every senior and is managed by a team of instructors.

Senior Design has over 250 students enrolled in it and has experienced approximately 20-30% growth every year for the last three years. It is expected to continue growing as more students enroll in the CS program, which is challenging considering it is a project-driven course. We, as facilitators of the course, are looking at future challenges such as how to integrate with both a section course offered online.

Hybrid Development and Course Improvements

Through hybrid course development, we plan to provide instructional videos on an as-needed basis for the sake of asynchronous learning. The course is a project-based class where students connect with a huge diversity of outside partners, timelines, and project deliverables. We plan to build interactive videos for students to master course content, such as technical writing and project management, at their own pace and depending on their outside partners’ milestones.

Additionally, we’d like to boost interaction among peers through active peer advisory pages. These pages will be more extensive than piazza or other similar platforms–they will help students self-select which other teams they will interact with for a series of design and other peer reviews. We hope these pages will increase the students’ resources for answering difficult technical questions, as well as help students develop networks of peers to provide assistance and information, leading to better project outcomes.

Finally, Scott (the other instructor for the course) is developing  a number of innovations to Capstone, itself, associated with the hybrid development. These innovations include an online documentation system and project generator that students and project partners can query outside of the normal class meeting times. He is also developing an app so that projects can be viewed virtually.



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