FAQ

What questions do you have? It is quite possible that others have asked very similar questions in the past. This list includes many of the questions we answer frequently, with relatively short answers for each. If you don’t find your question, or the answer we provide doesn’t provide enough of an explanation for your situation, please visit the Forum to ask your question to the community. (You’ll need to join the community here in order to view the Forum discussion.)

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Benefits of HyFlex

Faculty often find there are many benefits to teaching a HyFlex course, including increasing enrollment in traditionally under-enrolled classes, providing a rigorous alternative to classroom participation when students are not in class in-person, developing the capacity to teach fully online (possibly in boith synchronous and asynchronous modes) when needed, and supporting the individual participation-related needs of students, including allowing a high degree of customization for students based on learning and inteeraction preference.
Category: Benefits of HyFlex

Three common benefits are to: 1) serve students unable to attend classes in person (due to a time or location conflict) – increasing access for students and enrollments for schools, 2) schedule large in-person class meetings in smaller rooms – when the participation patterns support this presumption (that not all students will want to participate in a classroom setting), and 3) supporting instructional (and learning) continuity – HyFlex allows classes to continue during times when face-to-face teaching is not possible due to a pandemic, natural disaster, or any other event preventing students from learning on campus.

Students find that the ability to choose whether to attend and participate in class session in the classroom or online is very valuable. Even when students are not likely to attend class in person (perhaps they live a long way from campus), they report appreciating the option to attend in person if they want or need to. Other benefits include: more learning opportunities through LMS materials and activities, more control over their pace of learning, more schedule flexibility (when multiple classes are offered HyFlex), and the ability to learn how to learn online without committing to an “only-online” course.

Defining HyFlex

Category: Defining HyFlex

A HyFlex course provides both a classroom and at least one online participation option, or mode, to students. Students are free to choose which option to use for each class session.

Faculty Experience

Faculty often find there are many benefits to teaching a HyFlex course, including increasing enrollment in traditionally under-enrolled classes, providing a rigorous alternative to classroom participation when students are not in class in-person, developing the capacity to teach fully online (possibly in boith synchronous and asynchronous modes) when needed, and supporting the individual participation-related needs of students, including allowing a high degree of customization for students based on learning and inteeraction preference.

Fundamental Values and Principles

We use four guiding principles as we design, build and implement HyFlex courses and programs. Each principle is conected directly to one of the four HyFlex core values.
• Value: Learner Choice – HyFlex courses must have fully developed participation alternatives: classroom (face to face) and online (distance).
• Value: Equivalence – Alternative paths in a HyFlex course must lead to equivalent learning outcomes.
• Value: Reuse – Instructional materials and student-generated artifacts (content) from learning activities in each participation mode become learning resources for all students.
• Value: Accessibility – Alternative participation modes in HyFlex courses must be accessible to all students; information and learning experiences.

We often talk about four guiding values in the HyFlex approach: Learner Choice, Equivalency (of learning), Reuse (of course design and activities), and Accessibility (of information and learning experiences). Each of these is explained in detil in the HyFlex book and in blog posts on this site. Some institutions use a different set of values or guiding principles in their HyFlex courses and programs (Note: Many institutions use a different name for their localized approach other than HyFlex).

HyFlex Teaching

Category: HyFlex Teaching

Lectures are delivered live for classroom and synchronous students and either recorded (in the live session) or pre-recorded for viewing by asynchronous learners. When available, recorded lectures are also often reviewed by synchronous students (classroom and online).

In most HyFlx courses, we recommend that all students take the same form of test (in-person proctored, fully online, take home, etc.) in all modes. Using a consistent approach should lead to more reliable and potentially valid results. Cheating is almost always a problem when tests are used to determine student grades no matter the course mode – classroom or online. When designing a HyFlex course, we recommend considering whether or not traditional tests are needed to evaluate student learning and outcomes measurement. It may be possible to replace most, or even all of the learning assessment with more “authentic” assessments, like projects, papers, presentation, or other forms of expression. (See the Universal Design for Learning guidance or sites like Indiana University’s Center for Innovative in Teaching and Learning for more.) When high stakes tests are required, some schools and faculty will use programs such as Respondus Lockdown, which prevents student access to pre-selected websites during the test. The program has the option for students to provde video evidence of their surroundings before and during a test to ensure they don’t have prohibited supplies with them. There are also options, such as ProctorU for the test taking to be recorded. Some schools, many faculty, and possibly all students do not want to use online proctoring to mitigate cheating, and some institutions ban the practice outright. You can design an assessment approach that reduces student cheating without using online proctoring, but you have to be very intentional. For more guidance on how to reduce the liklihood and impact of student cheating, see the work of James Lang, especially the book Cheating Lessonsinsightful book review here.

Active learning is important in all modes of a HyFlex course. Many faculty and designers are familiar with active learning strategies in the classroom, and most of those may work well in a HyFlex course also. When students join the class live online (synchronous, for example with Zoom), some of the classroom approaches may still work with two types of participation happeening. See Derek Bruff’s post explaining “Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms” for some very good ideas about making this work. Online asynchronous students need different activities for active learning, and the faculty will have to be actively engaged in those, most likely, for the best outcomes. See this paper, Actively Engaging Students in Asynchronous Online Courses, from Shannon Riggs and Kathryn Linder of Oregon State University for some excellent strategies for active learning in the online asynchronous mode. You might be able to use some of these approaches for all students, as a form of out-of-class learning experience. That would support the development of learning community across all modes as well!

In this case, you may be seeing evidence that students find the online option more appealling than the classroom, perhaps due to schedule conflicts, classroom practice, or just about anything else. It is helpful to have a “Plan B” in mind for the live classroom session in case only a few students are present. (It becomes small group instruction, rather than large group instruction.) The classroom session can still be an interactive, engaging learning experience for students and for you, as long as you plan for this possibility.

If no students attend class live in-person, they are letting you know that they don’t value attending class in person as they do online, and that could be for many reasons. Ma y times, students have time or location conflicts that prevent them from being thgere in person. Other times, they may not find the classroom experience very engaging or useful to their learning. Letting students know what is planned for the next live class session can help them make better choices about participation. And if no one shows up, you would teach to the synchronouss online students only, if you offer that option. If you think students may choose the online option frequently, you may want to ask them, and if no one plans to attend class live in-person, you now have an online-only course!

Implementation

Category: Implementation

This varies considerably by institution. Some schools have created a new registration code (HyFlex or another name) that reflects the local characteristics of the approach. Sometimes multiple class meeting patterns are used; 1) an assigned time in a room and 2) an indication that the course is available asynchronously. Sometimes class registration systems list two class sections – one online and one in the classroom – and allow students to register for either, then invite students to participate in either mode. The two sections are usually combined in the LMS to support the work of a single faculty teaching both sections.

Category: Implementation

As a teacher, your first tasks are to 1) learn about HyFlex, 2) decide which modes of participation your students need, and if they need the classroom and at least one online mode, then 3) design a course that provides those modes. Step 3 is the most challenging, and most of the information, community discussion, and other services offered on this site are directed toward design and implementation (teaching) using a HyFlex approach.

Student Choice

Students find that the ability to choose whether to attend and participate in class session in the classroom or online is very valuable. Even when students are not likely to attend class in person (perhaps they live a long way from campus), they report appreciating the option to attend in person if they want or need to. Other benefits include: more learning opportunities through LMS materials and activities, more control over their pace of learning, more schedule flexibility (when multiple classes are offered HyFlex), and the ability to learn how to learn online without committing to an “only-online” course.

In this case, you may be seeing evidence that students find the online option more appealling than the classroom, perhaps due to schedule conflicts, classroom practice, or just about anything else. It is helpful to have a “Plan B” in mind for the live classroom session in case only a few students are present. (It becomes small group instruction, rather than large group instruction.) The classroom session can still be an interactive, engaging learning experience for students and for you, as long as you plan for this possibility.

If no students attend class live in-person, they are letting you know that they don’t value attending class in person as they do online, and that could be for many reasons. Ma y times, students have time or location conflicts that prevent them from being thgere in person. Other times, they may not find the classroom experience very engaging or useful to their learning. Letting students know what is planned for the next live class session can help them make better choices about participation. And if no one shows up, you would teach to the synchronouss online students only, if you offer that option. If you think students may choose the online option frequently, you may want to ask them, and if no one plans to attend class live in-person, you now have an online-only course!

Student Engagement

Active learning is important in all modes of a HyFlex course. Many faculty and designers are familiar with active learning strategies in the classroom, and most of those may work well in a HyFlex course also. When students join the class live online (synchronous, for example with Zoom), some of the classroom approaches may still work with two types of participation happeening. See Derek Bruff’s post explaining “Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms” for some very good ideas about making this work. Online asynchronous students need different activities for active learning, and the faculty will have to be actively engaged in those, most likely, for the best outcomes. See this paper, Actively Engaging Students in Asynchronous Online Courses, from Shannon Riggs and Kathryn Linder of Oregon State University for some excellent strategies for active learning in the online asynchronous mode. You might be able to use some of these approaches for all students, as a form of out-of-class learning experience. That would support the development of learning community across all modes as well!

Student Experience

In most HyFlx courses, we recommend that all students take the same form of test (in-person proctored, fully online, take home, etc.) in all modes. Using a consistent approach should lead to more reliable and potentially valid results. Cheating is almost always a problem when tests are used to determine student grades no matter the course mode – classroom or online. When designing a HyFlex course, we recommend considering whether or not traditional tests are needed to evaluate student learning and outcomes measurement. It may be possible to replace most, or even all of the learning assessment with more “authentic” assessments, like projects, papers, presentation, or other forms of expression. (See the Universal Design for Learning guidance or sites like Indiana University’s Center for Innovative in Teaching and Learning for more.) When high stakes tests are required, some schools and faculty will use programs such as Respondus Lockdown, which prevents student access to pre-selected websites during the test. The program has the option for students to provde video evidence of their surroundings before and during a test to ensure they don’t have prohibited supplies with them. There are also options, such as ProctorU for the test taking to be recorded. Some schools, many faculty, and possibly all students do not want to use online proctoring to mitigate cheating, and some institutions ban the practice outright. You can design an assessment approach that reduces student cheating without using online proctoring, but you have to be very intentional. For more guidance on how to reduce the liklihood and impact of student cheating, see the work of James Lang, especially the book Cheating Lessonsinsightful book review here.

In most HyFlex classes students do not have to bring their own computing equipment to classes, unless that is clearly explained as a requirement for participation, like a textbook assignment would be. This happens in some disciplines for some classes (like a digital design program, perhaps), but generally not for the class particpation mode, like HyFlex. We find that most students attending class in person have at least one device that can connect to the synchronous environment, and teachers often encourage them to do so, but don’t make it a condition of participation. HyFlex students participating online would need the same techgnologies as any other fully online student: computer with audio (mic) and video (camera) and reliable network access.

Technology

Category: Technology

Basically, you need technology to connect online students to the learning experience and to capture the classroom learning activities (content presentation, interactive discussions, etc.) if you plan to “reuse” those for online students. All students will use the LMS and will need their own technology to connect to the network and use internet applications. Online synchronous students will need audio and video capture capability and viewing/listening technology. In the classroom, you’ll want a camera and microphones to capture the teacher and student voices and interactions for viewing by synchronous students or for later reeview by all. Technology doesn;t have to be complicated, though it can be. A simple solution to start with may be a wise choice. In all cases, try out the planned technology(ies) before you attempt to use them in a real class situation.

In most HyFlex classes students do not have to bring their own computing equipment to classes, unless that is clearly explained as a requirement for participation, like a textbook assignment would be. This happens in some disciplines for some classes (like a digital design program, perhaps), but generally not for the class particpation mode, like HyFlex. We find that most students attending class in person have at least one device that can connect to the synchronous environment, and teachers often encourage them to do so, but don’t make it a condition of participation. HyFlex students participating online would need the same techgnologies as any other fully online student: computer with audio (mic) and video (camera) and reliable network access.

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.