To Reuse or Not to Reuse?

I get that one of the benefits of HyFlex courses is that you can reuse course material but I struggle with this. I like to personalize my material based on the current students and for me, that’s most organically done by creating new material for each cohort. I tailor lessons based on their interests and customize examples to best suit their needs. I also like to speak directly to asynchronous students in my recordings. I reuse material when students grant me permission to share video assignments with future cohorts but because I’m continually fine-tuning my assignments, the example videos are usually only relevant for the upcoming cohort of students.

I teach in a helping-related profession, preparing students to support individuals across complex sectors such as health care and mental health, which, are often in a state of flux. Students practice a variety of practical skills in the program such as creating support plans and facilitating care conferences. I want students to feel as comfortable as possible when demonstrating their acquired skills and one of the ways I do this is by speaking to them in the here and now and within the context of the current climate of the various sectors they’re learning about.

I imagine that for certain subjects, recycled material may flow more seamlessly, and of course, will also be dependent on variables such as the professor’s teaching style.

I share this blog post to highlight that just because someone has been teaching in a HyFlex delivery format for a few years, doesn’t mean they have it all figured out. I’m also not sure there is in fact a goal post of having things figured out. But rather, the beauty of this platform is to connect with fellow educators to learn from one another. And hey, maybe there’s a different way of looking at the situation that I haven’t considered. Or maybe it’s okay for HyFlex courses to have different advantages for different subject matters. Regardless, it’s a chance to learn from one another!

1 Comment

  1. Brian Beatty

    Melanie, thanks for sharing your ideas with us – to reuse materials or not? One thing your question highlights is the connection between content (information) and context (setting, situation). We often focus on providing content to learners, as we should. Much of the learning process relies on access to content. But the context in which the content is provided, and the context connections we often include in the content make it more powerful than content extracted from context. the more detailed the context, however, often the less “reusable” that content becomes.

    In a HyFlex classroom we often have the ability to record live sessions – content and context intertwined – and then post those for asynchronous learners to also learn from, and for all students to review. This is how I “reuse” the classroom interactions, especially content explanation and surrounding discussions in the classroom. I try to refer to the asynchronous learners in the live sessions also, sometimes by name or just a generic “for those watching this recording, …” which increases the contextual fixing to this class, this week, this lesson.

    I’m happy with that, though, because I never reuse classroom recordings outside of that sp[ecific class section (students enrolled in that section). Because the recordings are usually full of student images and voices, the expectation (and requirements of US law and institutional policy) I can’t reuse them for other purposes or audiences without the specific permission of each of the participants.

    If I want truly reusable content-focused videos, I have to create those without the students, which removes a lot of the context that enhances meaning-making and understanding. I do make some of those for different types of classes, but I don’t take time to do so for most of my courses because I prefer to use context-heavy class recordings with some student presence not only to support learning but also to support the feeling of belonging to a broader learning community in the class.

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