The Student Assistant Voice: Supporting Instructors in Using Hyflex

Originally posted on December 22, 2010 by Brian Beatty

I asked a recent graduate to talk about her experience working with one of our faculty in creating a HyFlex version of his traditional classroom-delivered course. Here is what she said:

“If you want to learn more about Hyflex or get hands-on experience organizing a course in an LMS, a nice way to get started is to work with a professor who has used this approach before. I did this during the Fall 2010 semester, and learned a lot.

To begin, ask your advisor if any instructors are looking for support or if any classes might benefit from Hyflex adaptation. Not all instructors teach full-time, and not all are interested in learning iLearn (SF State’s LMS). Some experienced professors have solid instructional technique and innovative programs, but might not be skillful in using collaboration tools. Because our courses need to meet the needs of students who may be unable to attend classroom sessions, you can help an instructor shape their materials and lead the class in a manner that works for all learners.

Based on my one experience providing Hyflex support to a part-time instructor, here’s how I’d suggest you proceed …

  1. SETUP: Meet with the instructor at least two weeks before the semester begins (several months before would be even better). Review the course materials and discuss how the professor envisions the class. It’s important, in this early stage, to have a solid course syllabus and access to most or all of the course content, unless that content will be driven by guest speakers. Determine if any materials need to be converted for online use, or if there are opportunities to improve the materials through changes in instructional media. See if you can help find the most timely online materials, or offer viewpoints that reflect current student expectations about the topics under discussion. Some instructors may worry about content ownership in loading their instructional materials into the LMS; I was glad mine didn’t, but if this comes up, discuss it with your advisor.
  2. ASSIGNMENT FLOW: Next, decide on all the small details of iLearn use. How will the professor present assignments? How will students deliver their work? How will reflection, peer exchanges, and feedback occur? In most cases, instructors will simply post files, and use the forum tool for assignments, but some may want to venture into quizzes and other functionality that iLearn easily supports. When students respond, will they type their responses in the iLearn editor or attach a file? When they attach file, which file formats can the instructor accept? Does the instructor know how to reply to a post in iLearn, or do they want to reply by commenting directly on printouts? These simple mechanics should be discussed to their smallest detail, because professors may have set expectations and students have iLearn usage preferences. It helps to go over this first with the professor, then in the first class meeting, and modify flow to meet class preferences.
  3. ONLINE DISCUSSION: An instructor who hasn’t presented in Hyflex will need to understand notification, discussion, and reflection in the LMS. You’ll want to make sure they understand how to use the email digest, how to comment to the class, and to use email to reply to individual work. They should know in advance that there is no private communication in iLearn. They’ll need to understand that when sending a message through iLearn, the list of recipients is omitted (for privacy), so they should begin their message by stating that the message is going to all students in the class.
  4. COLLABORATION AND RECORDING: During classroom delivery, you’ll need to help the instructor start Elluminate (the web conferencing application we use for synchronous training), begin the recording session, and monitor the chat window to give online students an opportunity to participate. If you’re lucky, as we were, you’ll find a generous and technically inclined student to man the Elluminate deck, or decide on a rotation among students, so everyone gets hands-on experience with Elluminate. It’s extremely helpful if the instructor stands in good reach of the mics, and if the mics are turned off during small group discussions. It would also be helpful to note start times of key events in the class, such as the start of the main presentation, and post those notes on iLearn for use with the Elluminate archive.

In summary, many of us are in Instructional Technology programs because we want to improve distance education. Signing up to be a TA and move a class to Hyflex is a way you can ‘act locally, think globally’ and help good instructors broaden their educational reach.”   Catherine Mone – ITEC 2010

Want more guidance from students? Review these hybridclass_tips from successful Graduate students.

Author

  • Brian Beatty

    Dr. Brian Beatty is Associate Professor of Instructional Technologies in the Department of Equity, Leadership Studies and Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University. At SFSU, Dr. Beatty pioneered the development and evaluation of the HyFlex course design model for blended learning environments, implementing a “student-directed-hybrid” approach to better support student learning.

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