California State University-Northridge Higher Education Tech Innovation

“Moving a program elsewhere requires a careful re-tuning of the components and materials, such that all stakeholders in the new environment see it as easier to follow the model to success than to continue with unsuccessful, but familiar, strategies.”
Katherine Stevenson, Professor of Mathematics, Director of Developmental Mathematics, California State University, Northridge

The Innovation: Hybrid Lab Courses

The Hybrid Lab course model targets high failure rate, multisection, gateway courses in which prerequisite knowledge is a key to success. The model creates a “flow of learning” that pairs a parent course with a one-unit supplemental hybrid course. Together, the two courses offer five carefully articulated components (see graphic). Course instruction is divided among faculty, who teach the parent course, and graduate teaching assistants and/or undergraduate tutors, who manage the supplemental contact hour and remediation. A course coordinator manages the day-to-day coordination of materials to move students actively and successfully through the course.

Results Achieved: The learning flow gradually moves the student from active listener to independent learner, and has proven successful in supporting students, particularly those from underrepresented minority and disadvantaged economic groups. 

  • Improved course success rates: During the initial NGLC grant period, 70% of students in CSUN’s Business Math course earned a C or higher after the Hybrid Lab course model was implemented. Before the model’s introduction, two-thirds of students had to repeat the course.
  • Cost-effective: Dramatic reduction in the number of students repeating the class produced a net savings of $5,000 per semester at CSUN.
  • Sustainable: Cost savings and the reduced need for remediation courses further encourage the ongoing and growing use of the Hybrid Lab course model.

Long-term Goal: Expand the use of the Hybrid Lab course model in three ways over the next five years:

  1. In subject areas beyond math 
  2. At 18 of 23 CSU campuses
  3. At 4 of 9 Los Angeles district California community college campuses
One student's perspective on the Hybrid Labs team at CSU Northridge
Project lead Kate Stevenson & CSU Chancellor White discuss Hybrid Labs


  • California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • California State University, Bakersfield
  • California State University, Channel Islands
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, East Bay
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California State University, Los Angeles
  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • California State University, Northridge
  • California State University, Stanislaus
  • Humboldt State University
  • Long Beach City College
  • Moorpark College
  • Pasadena City College
  • Pierce College
  • San Francisco State University

The Grant Project: 

CSUN received an initial grant in April 2011 and a follow-on grant in January 2013 to support the development of this technology-enabled learning innovation. 

The NGLC grants financed the Hybrid Lab course model’s expansion, through the recruitment of campuses and the building of the Hybrid Model Resources Repository of class materials, training tools, and an assessment database. The group continues to strengthen the program through promoting more courses, classroom facilities, and instructor training; improved assessment, data collection, and analysis; and salaried grant/project managers and staff.