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Center for Teaching Excellence

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The Hyflex Model- An Effective Approach to Teaching with Numerous Modalities

By Kira Norwood,

Teaching this fall will undoubtedly look different from previous semesters. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the teaching landscape and requires that educators adapt how they will  deliver classes. There are numerous resources and models available to help faculty prepare for the fall. One model that has garnered national attention is the Hybrid-Flexible Model, which “enables a flexible participation policy for students, whereby students may choose to attend face-to-face synchronous class sessions in-person (typically in a traditional classroom) or complete course learning activities online without physically attending class.” (Beatty, 2019, n. p.) In this model, both students and professors are offered increased flexibility. 

To streamline the implementation of the HyFlex model, Lydia Frass, instructional designer at the Center for Teaching Excellence, and Vera Polyakova-Norwood, director of distributed learning at the College of Nursing, created the HyFlex Course Delivery: A Practical Guide.  This guide explains the delivery modalities in simple, operational terms and provides recommendations for course organization, lesson delivery and active learning implementation for students across all modalities.  “One thing that we knew is there is a lot of planning and preparation that faculty really have to go through to teach. So, we wanted to think of ways they can do this in a practical and efficient manner but also be very effective,” Frass said.

A strong advantage of the HyFlex model is its ability to be adaptive during these unprecedented times. By simultaneously using face-to-face instruction, online livestreaming, and online asynchronous delivery, students should be able to easily move from face-to-face to the online format, and the course is already prepared to switch to that method if needed. “If we say, in the middle of the semester, faculty have to switch to fully online delivery, then they are already there. They don’t have to do any additional planning or reconceptualization of everything that’s being done,” Polyakova-Norwood said.

When teaching a course using these different modalities, it’s important that all students have a similar learning experience. One group shouldn’t have an advantage over the other simply because of the difference in format. “One thing that is very important is that whatever delivery format a faculty member chooses, they must incorporate ways to engage students and to do this through various active learning exercises,” Frass said. “Research shows that engaging students in the classroom improves learning outcomes.”

If you’re interested in implementing the HyFlex model into a course, take a look at the guide and resources below. Also,  you can register for the CTE workshop offered August 11, 2020 where the approach described in HyFlex Course Delivery: A Practical Guide will be demonstrated and discussed , and questions answered. You should also feel free to schedule an instructional design consultation with CTE.

Additional HyFlex Resources:

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