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Fall 2020 preparation

  • June 29, 2020

    "What the heck is Hyflex and why is everybody talking about it?

    Like the rest of the world, we are faced with the challenge of conducting classes in the fall while practicing social distancing, caring for ourselves, family, and students, and trying to plan for unforeseeable contingencies. Because there are so many variables at play, it is impossible for us to know what to prepare for. Really the only thing we can do as colleagues and as an institution, is prepare to be flexible -- whatever that might mean to each of us. 

    The "Hyflex" model of course design is a method that has attracted a lot of attention in the last few months precisely because it professes to offer the most flexibility possible at every point during the semester -- for students. There are excellent reasons for using the hy-flex design, namely, its student-centered pedagogy. But there are some challenges with this design to work through as well -- issues of equity and accessibility tend to be under-addressed, and the logistics of planning an on-the-ground and an online lesson plan simultaneously can be daunting.

    At the CTE, we've been compiling and screening hundreds of resources in an effort to parse out the best, most flexible aspects of Hyflex design to present to UMES faculty as an option for their class preparation for Fall 2020. While we prepare a workshop to be launched the second week of July, here are some resources we thought you might like to take a look at.


    The HyFlex model aligns with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles

    Some anecdotal statistics about rates of participation for each mode in these instructors' classes:

    "We saw similar ratios in the active Twitter exchange started by Claire Major. Claire reported that 6 out of 36 students (~17%) came to the in-class sessions, 6 to 10 (~17-27%) participated via videoconference in real-time, and the rest (over 50%) participated asynchronously. In the same Tweet thread, Nadia Naffi (@nadianaffi) shared that 8 out of 30 students (~27%) participated in classroom meetings, 18 (60%) were live via videoconference, and the rest (over 30%) completed activities asynchronously. [NOTE: Knowing that our students are craving human contact after staying at home for months, there could be an initial period when a higher percentage of students want to be in the classroom.]"

    Examples of how classes can be run in HyFlex - in terms of instructions for an "in-class" assignment:

    If you’re in the room, turn to a (distant) neighbor and share what you wrote.

    If you’re on the videoconference, I’ll put you in breakout groups of 2 or 3.

    If you’re watching the recording, press pause and participate in the Think-Pair-Share discussion forum. Then come back and press play. I’ll summarize the ideas of the people who are live.

    More examples (50/75 min class sessions) of how to do this can be found on this Google doc.  It's a table that can be modified - author gave permission:

    All of the above info comes from a pretty informative article:





    HyFlex webinar (11 min):

    HyFlex webinar (40 min):

    Faculty interview/ presentation (SF State) (15 min):



    Someone suggested participants finish this sentence:

    The more I know about HyFlex course design, the more I....

    Some answers (not from UMES):

     "...I think we're putting the HyFlex cart before the teaching and faculty support horse"

    " This doesn’t finish the sentence, but we considered Hyflex a few years ago and stopped when we realized we’d be asking folks who haven’t been trained to teach effectively, regardless of online/on-ground, to teach in multiple modalities AT THE SAME TIME."

    "...realize that building two courses for the price of one is going to be super fun."

    "...think if we can crack this nut, and do it well, we’ll be in a new frontier of teaching and learning."

    " ...agreed but also think that cracking this particular nut requires extensive time and resources and can only be done well if faculty are supported with reductions in other responsibilities and investments in technology and training..."

    " ...worry about institutional priorities that think that learning can happen while we’re all stressed about our physical safety and maintaining distances."

    " .. doubt there is sufficient time for me to learn, use and deploy it in Fall 2020."

    " ... wonder how one conducts HyFlex active learning with genuine equity for onsite and offsite students."

    " ... worry about institutional mandates that try to require HyFlex from faculty without accommodating the “startup cost” in prep time."

    "... think it’s a good idea but I have no idea how to make happen. I would appreciate seeing syllabi for this method."

    " ...wonder how it would work with groups that stay roughly the same over the semester. Could be wrong, but it seems very few used it before this year. Not much collective experience to help our peers."

    "...realize it could work if I’ve been teaching the class for a long time, already have online materials, have a tiny class size, and got some tech help integrating into the LMS."

    " ...think it's a slight of hand. It's meant to give students optimal flexibility--love that! But beware, admin loves it bec it gives appearance that we made our own pedagogical decisions while ensuring F2F component. When did we become frontline workers?"

    " ... worry that decision makers might miss the point that the “flex” part is about student agency over attendance modality all the time, not a way to push content at students who otherwise would be absent. ... worry that decision makers might think that “lecture capture” technology gives you HyFlex without the other fundamental reframings."

    " excited that higher ed is bringing in a flexible mindset to instruction. I’ve read several articles with those intimidated by it. Any obstacles I’ve seen mentioned are removable by design."

    " ...want to try it in at least one of my courses in the fall. My uni is planning for hybrid, but I’m also planning my courses with the assumptions we might have to move back online at some point during the semester. So, I might as well try out HyFlex!"