Practical things to try
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When you’re starting to consider a HyFlex approach, or you’ve even made a decision to begin this journey, essentially, there are really three major sections of your design and your development process that you should be thinking about.
The first is really the strategic decision to implement HyFlex in your particular course, or maybe a program. Sometimes this decision is made at an institutional level, in which case the institution defines the characteristics of the HyFlex approach. Which modes are required and which modes may be optional. If a faculty, you yourself are just making this decision, then that’s a decision that will help shape your design going forward. So you should have in mind already which modes of participation are you going to provide for students.
Once you’ve decided to do the HyFlex approach, and you have some idea on the modes that are going to be provided, then the next step is really to look at the learning outcomes for the course or the program that you’re considering. The student learning outcomes remember are ones that we want to keep equivalent, no matter which mode a student participates in. Sometimes a course may not be a great fit for HyFlex if the student learning outcomes can’t be met equally well in each of the modes that you would like to provide.
So for example, a course that has a high level of interaction required in an environment such as a laboratory environment, or maybe a studio environment, that may not be a good fit for HyFlex, or at least part of the course may not be a good fit for HyFlex. We have a lot of classes that we’ve taught in the STEM field, where the majority of the class may be available for HyFlex, but part of it is required to be done in person on campus because of the requirements to use specialised equipment. So looking at the student learning outcomes and deciding if there’s a partial HyFlex approach, or maybe some revision to the student learning outcomes that would be required is the next part of this process.
Once you’ve gone through the student learning outcome analysis, and you’ve decided that yes indeed the student learning outcomes can be met in all modes that you’re designed for. Then we go into the detailed design. And this is where we look at the instructional content, and the activities, the interaction, and the assessment approaches that we have designed, and we look to see what we have done already in the classroom, and how that translate to the various online environments that we’re designing for.
So if there’s content I use in the classroom or in the course I’ve been teaching so far, how can I use that in the online version of the course. That is usually a relatively easy decision for us to make, since most of our content is already digital, or can be easily digitised. When I look at assessment approaches, what assessment am I doing now in my regular course? And how does that translate into the online environment? And how do I find ways to make it work for all students equitably?
Third is the engagement part of this. What engagement strategies do I commonly use now in the classroom, and how do those translate into the online environments? Typically the asynchronous online environment requires different engagement approaches than I’m using in the classroom. That’s an important part of the design process because you will not have engaged students unless you are an engaged faculty member. So these three challenges, the strategy, the outcomes, and then the detailed design are really the three main pieces of creating HyFlex.
- First, start with a strategic analysis of the need for multiple modes of class participation in any single class. If there is no need to support multiple participation modes in a single class-action, then you may not want to follow a path towards HyFlex.
- Second, when there is a need to serve students in both the classroom and online, then it’s important to take the next step on your HyFlex design journey which is to consider the student learning outcomes for a course, perhaps a lesson, or maybe an entire program. When considering student learning outcomes, it’s important to know which modes of participation your strategy is providing. For each mode, ask yourself whether the student learning outcomes that exist today can be met in that mode. For most courses, student learning outcomes can be met well in the classroom as well as in online instruction. But in some situations, you may find that specific student learning outcomes might not be well met through asynchronous online instruction and in that case the decision is usually to require students to participate in activities associated with that learning outcome in the classroom or on-campus environment. When participation on campus is not possible, then a modification of the student learning outcome may be required to offer the course in HyFlex mode.
- Third, I recommend that once the strategy for HyFlex has been drafted and you have confirmed that the student learning outcomes can be met in all modes, you embark on the detailed design journey. During the detailed design process, looks at instructional content, activities, assessment strategies, and engagement approaches to determine how they would implement those aspects of instruction in each mode of the course. This is the biggest portion of the work involved in getting ready for a HyFlex course to begin. See https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/hyflex_design for guidance.