Originally posted on November 19, 2010 by Brian Beatty
If HyFlex course delivery makes sense for a particular context, it usually begins with individual faculty who are personally motivated and energized to try this approach to meet important goals associated with delivery mode. In my case, it was the need to maintain a quality classroom program and add the ability to extend the classroom to students participating at a distance in time or geography. In the language used in innovation diffusion, these faculty would be first adopters in their social system. In the language of the diffusion of high technology (developed by Geoffrey Moore and the Chasm Group), these faculty are probably Visionaries, willing to take on significant risk for some big advantage or to solve a major problem.
If HyFlex works with an initial faculty or course, it is natural to look for additional faculty and/or courses that it could also work well with, to increase the value returned to the larger organizational system. In my case, this expansion is taking place to other graduate seminar courses within my own academic program (Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University http://www.sfsu.edu/~itec). Our larger university community has taken notice of our success with HyFlex and is looking at this delivery approach to help solve a larger organizational need to increase graduation rates and lower the average time to degree among our students (especially undergraduates). (I’ll write more about the larger university HyFlex implementation project in another post.)
In most cases of further diffusion into the organization, some faculty (and students and administrators) will not be willing or able to put as many personal resources (time, energy, etc.) into trying this new approach. Typically, people in a social system considering adopting an innovative practice consider the characteristics of the innovation (such as, how well will it work for them, what advantages will it provide, how difficult will it be to adopt) and rely on their peers for recommendations and information about changing their practice. It is no different with HyFlex adoption. If you are interested in supporting or encouraging faculty adoption of HyFlex delivery, you’ll need to work within these same parameters, and be patient! I’ll suggest some more concrete strategies to use in follow-on posts.