Lesson 7 of 7
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Key messages to take away

HyFlex course design is built on four fundamental values: Learner Choice, Equivalency, Reusability, and Accessibility, each with a corresponding guiding principle for designers and instructors to follow. These four ‘pillars’ provide a consistent and solid foundation for resulting courses and programs.

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When we’re implementing HyFlex courses, there are really four key principles that we’re trying to support in all of our design efforts. The first one is around learner choice. If we don’t have learner choice between various participation modes, then we really don’t have the flexibility that HyFlex promises. So learner choice is an important aspect of creating a HyFlex experience for your students.

Once we have learner choice, we also look for equivalency, because what we want is we want to make sure that students who are making choices among the various alternatives, to reach the equivalent or the same learning outcomes. Their experiences will definitely be different depending upon the mode that they participate in, classroom, or one of the online options we may provide. But the student learning outcomes should be the same.

Thirdly, we look for reuse. As a faculty member, you do not want to have to build two or three versions of every activity, or every assessment, or anything else that you’re creating for your course. The ideal is to build it once and then to reuse it across all three modes. So if you build for, for example, the asynchronous learning environment, usually the materials and the activities and the assessments that you create for that environment, can be reused in every other mode of the course. Build it once, and reuse it in all the modes that you’re offering for your students.

Fourthly is the principle of accessibility. Clearly we have requirements to make all of our course materials accessible, especially when students have an accommodation around a physical disability or a learning disability that our institution is helping us meet their needs for.

We also want to make sure that our courses are accessible in the various modes around the technology options. When students don’t have adequate technology to participate synchronously online or even asynchronously online perhaps, then they really don’t have that choice as a viable alternative for them. And so there’s very little if any flexibility for those students. So as an institution in particular, I think we have a responsibility to provide support for students who need access to technology, to networks, perhaps even to environments to learn within, especially as online students, for them to have a good HyFlex experience.

So as we look at these four principles or pillars, what we try to do when we design online courses or HyFlex courses, is to make sure that we’re meeting as much of these as we possibly can. We may not be able to meet a hundred percent of each principle in every course or in every lesson in every course, but as long as we’re following these principles, even if we have to modify our HyFlex approach for various situations, we find that we do end up creating more access than we had before, higher quality access than we have before, and more equitable access for students.

Learner Choice: Provide meaningful alternative participation modes and enable students to choose between participation modes daily, weekly, or topically.

Equivalency: Provide learning activities in all participation modes which lead to equivalent learning outcomes.

Reusability: Utilize artifacts from learning activities in each participation mode as ‘learning objects’ for all students.

Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modes.

More explanation on each of these can be found at https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/hyflex_values.

Not every HyFlex course implements each principle 100% of the time, but every HyFlex course implements many of these principles most of the time. Even when a full HyFlex course experience is not possible or practical, following these principles will help you provide a high quality and equitable learning experience for your students.

Click here to view the video transcript

Thank you for listening. I would encourage you to take advantage of the activities and the resources that are posted for you that I’m recommending, and participate in the discussion area in the OneHE platform.

Thank you for taking this ‘Designing HyFlex Courses’ course which has been developed with Dr Brian Beatty. We hope you have enjoyed it. Remember to mark this lesson as ‘Mark Complete’ to earn your Course Completion Badge.

Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid-Flexible Course Design: Implementing student-directed hybrid classes (1st ed.). EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex.

HyFlex Learning Community, in particular the Student Experience Category:  https://www.hyflexlearning.org/category/student/

HyFlex Learning Community blog and forums:  https://hyflexlearning.org. 

Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid-Flexible Course Design: Implementing student-directed hybrid classes (1st ed.). EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex.

Beatty, B. J. (2019). Learning in a Hybrid-Flexible Course: The Student Experience in HyFlex Courses. In B. J. Beatty, Hybrid-Flexible Course Design: Implementing student-directed hybrid classes. EdTech Books. 

Magna Publications. (2020). Strategies that work in Traditional and HyFlex classrooms (many strategies to choose from, many authors). The Journal of Faculty Development; Madison, 34(3), pp. 58-98. 

Milman, N., Irvine, V., Kelly, K., Miller, J. and Saichaie, K. (2020). 7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model. Educause.  

Stories of HyFlex: Bryan Alexander and Brian Beatty online interview and discussion from The Future Trends Forum September 24, 2020: Stories of HyFlex.


What questions remain in your mind about HyFlex course design? What else do you need to know to adapt HyFlex at your institution?

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.