To align with the way that students live, work, and learn today, Niagara County Community College is investing in the creation and delivery of HyFlex courses. The aim of this delivery mode is to offer students the maximum amount of choice possible within a formal learning program.
In a HyFlex course, students can choose between a variety of delivery modes, adapting their approach to learning to suit their needs and preferences at any time, changing their mode from one class meeting to the next as needed.
- In-person: This participation method looks similar to traditional classroom learning, in that students arrive to a classroom on a specific day and time, and meet with an educator who is physically present in the classroom. However, in-person attendees may interact with classmates who are attending class virtually. Technological solutions allow the in-person and online attendees to communicate with one another and the course instructor, to collaborate on course activities and assignments, and to complete course assessments.
- Synchronous Online: Students attend class virtually, in real-time. Live chat, video conferencing solutions, and collaborative technologies allow virtual students to be active participants in the learning experience, despite not being physically present in the classroom.
- Asynchronous Online: Students can engage in learning on their own time, completing coursework online either before or after the in-person learning has taken place. Students will interact with their peers and with the course instructor using asynchronous technologies which allow for reflection, collaboration and student-to-student interactions that are dispersed over a period of time.
Is HyFlex Right for Your Course?
HyFlex may not be the right fit for every course – there are pedagogical standards, technical requirements, and scheduling requirements to consider before committing to developing a HyFlex course:
Pedagogical Standards for HyFlex Courses:
Teaching a HyFlex course combines teaching a traditional classroom-based course with teaching a fully- developed online course. The course instructor must have both types of content fully deployed in the HyFlex course space to ensure students can freely choose between delivery modalities each class session to fit their needs.
HyFlex courses are not the same as hybrid courses. In hybrid courses, students are all in a classroom together at one time and all online together at another time, meaning that one mode of delivery is unused while the other is in use. In HyFlex, both modes are used at all times. “HyFlex” means the course has a combination of in-person and online students who interact but are physically separated; course design must be appropriate for both in-person and online students. The course must be “seamlessly operational” for students to flow from classroom to online.1
Blended – HyFlex – course designs involve instructor and learners working together in mixed delivery modes, typically face-to-face and technology mediated, to accomplish learning outcomes that are pedagogically supported through assignments, activities, and assessments as appropriate for a given mode and which bridge course environments in a manner meaningful to the learner.2
As with any course design, HyFlex courses must focus on what the learner and the instructor will do, rather than on the mode of delivery. Start with the learning outcomes and ensure all activities guide the students toward attainment of those outcomes. Alignment between activities, assessments, and learning outcomes should be clear. Varied interactivity (instructor to student, student to student, student to others or to materials/resources) and prompt feedback are critical to student engagement in HyFlex courses.
Best practices for the classroom-based portion of a HyFlex course include “flipped classroom” strategies in which students complete pre-reading or pre-work prior to arriving to each class meeting; classroom time is then spent on student-to-student discussion groups, team projects, and other active learning activities (debates, presentations, etc). The instructor facilitates discussion and interaction, answers questions, clarifies concepts, and introduces the next topic students should prepare for.
Technical Requirements for HyFlex Courses:
These are the physical needs of your classroom space plus your comfort level with the technologies.
It is important that you, as instructor, are comfortable using the Course Learning Management System (Blackboard), the video-conferencing software (Zoom), and the hardware (cameras, projectors, computers) in the room. Mandatory training will be provided prior to the start of your HyFlex course to help increase your comfort level.
Also, be mindful of the students in your room – can they see the projected images clearly? Are the acoustics sufficient for students to hear the instructor as well as the remote students who are “virtually present”?
Scheduling Requirements for HyFlex Courses:
There are specific criteria your course must meet in order to go on the NCCC Course Schedule as HyFlex. The course must meet all the requirements of an online course, plus include information for remote students to login to live sessions, and for asynchronous students to view recorded lectures.