HyFlex implementation & technology

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      Jeanne SamuelJeanne Samuel

      Last year, I became aware of a product Class (for Zoom) by Class.com. The co-founder and CEO Michael Chasen was also the co-founder and CEO of Blackboard. I get a lot of vendor calls and do not always have time for demos. But, one image on their website got my attention. Therefore, I reached out to learn more. It is on their homepage just under the demo. It compares the physical classroom with the virtual. The virtual classroom via Zoom or similar products has 60% fewer features than are in a physical classroom.

      Asynchronous classrooms have been around for a long time using a variety of products, for example,  email then learning management systems. Synchronous online using compressed video and TV was used but gradually became less popular. One reason was that the technology was expensive and required technology support.  For the same technology support reason, teachers preferred to record lectures but not stream them live — until COVID. However, the Zoom, Teams, WebEX, etc. classroom experience for most learners (and teachers) during COVID, is not online learning. That delivery model is now referred to as Emergency Remote Learning (ERL).

      What the COVID experience did in terms of HyFlex implementation, was to help me think differently about the asynchronous online delivery model. I am considering adding technology to enable our faculty to offer participation options for our fully online asynchronous sections. There are some students who want the social and support experience of a synchronous session. They want more than a 1:1 office hours in real time. At my institution, we are in the process of acquiring Class (for Zoom) for our traditional in-person and hybrid classes.  It does require Zoom. I am encouraging faculty to consider using it for all their delivery modes to permit HyFlex course delivery.

      For HyFlex, as in the flipped classroom, synchronous participation, either in-person or online, is best for activities that are best offered synchronously. For example, labs, projects, or discussions about sensitive topics where hearing and seeing a person’s affect is important. In addition, with Class providing a way for the teacher to monitor student participation and to hold private teacher-learner conversations during class, I believe we now have a way of offering online as a HyFlex option that improves learner support without sacrificing engagement — for those who want the option. This is what I am currently considering. Previously, we considered HyFlex as a way of extending the reach of in-person classes or to add a flexible participation option for hybrid and in-person courses.

      What technology are you considering for your implementation of HyFlex and why?


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