What can educators do?
Here are three focus questions that you can use to explore the use of HyFlex in your own context.
1. How can we better serve students who do not have access to our traditional classroom-based courses, and may not thrive in an ‘online-only’ learning environment?
The goal to serve more students with high quality and equitable learning opportunity is more broadly met when there are two or perhaps three modes of instruction and learning available to those students. Clearly, not all the students we intend to serve are able to attend classes in person, often because of location conflicts, commute conflicts, or time conflicts. Also, fully online only classes are not a good fit for many of our intended learners. So, while an asynchronous online course may increase access to instruction, not all the students who need that type of access are good learners in the asynchronous world, so it is not ‘effectively accessible’ to our intended student populations. There are also challenges with online synchronous modes when there are no other options. Not all of our students have adequate access to the technology, environment, and skills needed to thrive in a synchronous online only environment. When we combine these modes into a HyFlex course, we have the potential, at least, to serve more students with high-quality and equitable access to effective learning.
2. How can we attract more students to our under enrolled courses and programs?
There are many systemic organizational drivers that surface needs for HyFlex or similar approaches that provide flexibility for student participation. Many graduate and professional programs use HyFlex to support enrollments by attracting new students and retaining current students who are unable to attend or not satisfied with a classroom-only experience. This may provide the opportunity to attract students from outside the traditionally served region; HyFlex courses provide the capacity for programs to serve remote students in addition to providing convenience and alternatives to regional students.â€¯
3. How can we maintain instructional continuity in the event of a campus shutdown?
All institutions experience challenges to maintaining operations, including the instructional program, during local and regional emergencies such as, transit strikes, electrical outages, building closures, wildfires (and the smoke they generate), major storms, and yes, global pandemics. Institutional leadership is often interested in using approaches like HyFlex to remain academically operational even when the campus is locally closed, allowing instructional “business” to be continued.