One of the challenges to designing HyFlex courses is to design it so that the delivery does add to your time-commitments. A HyFlex course is intentionally designed; not just for course content but for process — design and delivery processes. HyFlex design is efficient since you work on multiple teaching and learning modalities at the same time. Have you ever graded the same assignment all in one sitting versus multiple assignments in one sitting? Which task quicker and easier to complete? Even using a course rubric, your focus is better and feedback easier when grading the same activity. Now think about this: When designing a HyFlex course, do you think it is quicker to create one course with three delivery modes one at a time or three courses each with a different delivery mode one-after-the-other?
Good course design starts with the outcomes, followed by the assessments to verify that the outcomes have been met. Next, curate and/or create the learning resources that promote the learning experiences. Outcome alignment should limit course bloat. Bloat is the addition of nice-to-have versus need-to-have course content. Bloat can waste learners’ time doing and your time providing feedback. If the content bloat aligns with course outcomes, you might place them in a resource pool to keep the course activities fresh each term. Or you might offer opt-in activities for just-in-time remediation or enhancement. Alternately, when designing as HyFlex, you might drop relevant content into course delivery mode buckets categorized as in-person, online synchronous, or online asynchronous.
You do not have to create your entire course at one time. However, that is best especially if you have a development team. If not, start with one lesson. If the course exists in multiple modes already, verify that the content aligns with outcomes, cut the fat (bloat), and create content in the missing modality. In my opinion, ideally, HyFlex design is not bimodal. However, in some cases, a bimodal delivery approach is the best for that situation. I recently heard an idea that makes sense for pilot HyFlex adoptions. For example, require that HyFlex courses be in-person and asynchronous online and optionally synchronous online (I/A, S) or require that courses be offered asynchronously online, synchronously online, and optionally in person (A/S, I) or perhaps offered synchronously online, in person, and optionally asynchronously online (S/I, A). That will help faculty ease into HyFlex while determining the best fit for the subject and learners.
Spend time in your course, not on your course
Design your course so that you spend contact time in your course while it is in session rather than on your course (building and maintaining). Strive to create a course-in-a-box master course that you can set and forget. Then build in the engagement and feedback opportunities so you do not forget the learners. Engagement is not just for learners. If you are not engaged, you are not present. If you are not present, neither will be the learners.
5 Simple Rules
I try to keep the rules simple: (1) Align to course outcomes, (2) Cut the bloat, (3) Re-use as much as possible, (4) Design for learner success, and (5) Make your course interesting. If you are bored teaching it, they are probably bored learning it.