In October, 2019, I had yet to encounter the topic of HyFlex in the educational podcasts I was listening to at the time. Due to the pandemic, this is no longer the case. People are talking about HyFlex. You’re probably talking about it. You might even be offering HyFlex delivery without realizing it.
This is how I explain HyFlex: a mix of hybrid (both online and in-person) and flexible delivery (student choice in learning methods).
At Cambrian College, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, HyFlex includes 3 delivery methods:
- Traditional face-to-face classroom style
- Synchronous (meaning students join virtually in real time via video conferencing. They can actively participate using their device’s microphone, web camera and/or through the chat feature.)
- Asynchronous (students work through course material outside of the scheduled hours).
The flexible part means that students can alternate between these delivery options based on their preferences. Technically, this means I could have a class with no one in it or a class with only virtual students, or a class with absolutely no one. Just me. And this could vary from class to class based on what students choose from week to week.
Dr. Brian Beatty follows the HyFlex definition in the Academic Senate Online Education policy at San Francisco State: “HyFlex courses are class sessions that allow students to choose whether to attend classes face-to-face or online, (e.g., synchronous, asynchronous, bichronous).”
Bichronous refers to students who choose to stick to the online delivery formats, alternating between synchronous and asynchronous based on their needs. (Read more about this relatively new approach at the EDUCAUSE Review.)
At San Francisco State, they consider two fundamental characteristics when deciding if a course is HyFlex or not: 1) a face-to-face component as well as an online option and 2) student choice – a choice that might fluctuate from class to class. If a course doesn’t meet these two criteria, it is considered a hybrid course.
So, what is HyFlex?