HyFlex Teaching with All Learners in Mind
The HyFlex approach requires intentional design of the learning experience and thoughtful consideration of how all students will engage with the instructor, content, and each other. All participants—irrespective of how they choose to join—must have equitable access to the learning resources, the instructor, and one another. Effective use of classroom strategies and technology is vital so that all participants can hear verbal interactions and fully engage in the course. It takes considerable time and effort to offer a HyFlex course.
HyFlex combines ‘hybrid’ and ‘flexible’
Hybrid learning refers to learning that integrates complementary face-to-face and online learning experiences in service of intended learning objectives.
The “flexible” aspect of HyFlex is that students are given choice in how they participate in the course and engage with material in the mode that works best for them.
Hybrid/Hyflex Teaching and Learning, Columbia University, 2022
InterPro HyFlex courses offer one of two attendance options:
in-person synchronous (in a physical classroom) or
online synchronous via video conference (Zoom)
The course provides alternative participation modes that are meaningful and allow students to choose the mode of engagement that works best for them.
The modes, though not equal, provide equivalent learning outcomes. All students are expected to reflect, contribute developing ideas, and interact with their peers in the process of learning.
Students are equipped with the technological resources and skills to equally access all participation modes. Universal Design for Learning principles are considered.
Hybrid-Flexible Course Design, Beatty, 2019
How will you use the physical classroom and the online learning environment to teach? What tools and instructional technologies will support your teaching and your students’ learning?
Prepare the physical classroom to effectively connect online and in-person learners and instructors, and to display multiple media and content feeds. Consider the following:
- Can online learners hear in-person instructors and other learners? And vice versa?
- Can online learners see in-person instructors and other learners? And vice versa?
- Can all learners see the presentation materials, flip charts, demonstration materials, or other physical learning objects?
- Can in-person learners see the Zoom Chat?
Because of the required system setup, we strongly recommend holding HyFlex courses at the Pyle Center.
Zoom is the web conferencing tool we use for HyFlex courses. Zoom synchronously connects online learners with the instructors, each other, and the content. Learners access Zoom through the Canvas course site. We recommend using the Zoom desktop client or mobile app. Only use the web client if you cannot access the other options.
Zoom includes the following features:
- Annotation Tools
- Breakout Rooms
- Learn more about Zoom
Canvas is our learning management system (LMS). Use Canvas to share course materials, resources, course evaluation and course certificates. Canvas Announcements are also commonly used as a communication tool. Canvas also has the potential to be used for quizzes and other learner assessments.
It is important to have all course materials, the Zoom room, and the Canvas course setup complete at least one week prior to the start of the course.
How will you foster learner engagement and a sense of togetherness? How will you ensure that your online learners have an equally engaging experience as the learners participating in-person?
- Start the course by explaining how the course is setup, what to expect, and how learners should communicate, both online and in-person
- Introduce all learners by alternating between online and in-person, you may use the course roster to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate
- Encourage online learners to turn on their video during key points: introductions, Q&A, learning activities, and breakout rooms
- Explicitly state the learning objectives and allow time for students to share why they’re taking the course
- When posing questions, pause to give all students time to engage, check the chat for contributions, repeat student questions, and acknowledge responses from online and in-person learners
- Learn more about Community Building in the Classroom
Active Learning Strategies
Integrate opportunities for learners to process the information you are sharing. For every 20-30 minutes of direct instruction, offer an opportunity for learners to process the information and engage in one of the following ways: reflect on their own, check for understanding, discuss with their peers, ask questions, and/or practice doing what they’ve learned.
Consider using one of the following strategies:
- Reflection Questions
- Practical Exercise
- Small group discussion
- Learn more about Active Learning
- Prioritize structure and upfront planning. The more structure that is already built into a learning activity before class, the faster it will be to parse and respond to student responses when the activity takes place. In large classes, very structured options, like multiple-choice polling questions, are the most practical.
- Troubleshoot technology and identify resources for support. Technology support is extremely important for HyFlex courses, as technology issues can be highly distracting when both in-person students and remote students are learning synchronously. Technology issues may also interfere with facilitating interactions between in-person and remote students. Possible options include providing instructors with a direct channel or point person for technology support. Try to do a test run of any new activities and ensure that there are no major issues, if possible.
- Arrive at least one hour prior to the start of course to test all audio and visual before you begin.
- If possible, use one display screen for the presentation and one for the Zoom interface.
- Under Zoom > Settings > Accessibility increase Chat font size to 200%, so in-person learners can see it.
- Use a Logitech Spotlight presentation remote while teaching in-person.
- Remember to unmute Zoom when you return from Zoom breakout groups.