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

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.

HyFlex Teaching

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!

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

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.