I recently took an online statistical analysis course. Most people when I tell them that, respond with “why?”. In hindsight I must ask myself the same thing, but that’s beside the point.
CC-BY-NC-SA, Boston Public Library
One thing I really liked about the course was the instructor offered students a weekly live web-conferencing session to review the assignments. “Attendance” (logging in to the live session) was optional, which was a good thing since it was scheduled at a time that was not convenient for me to attend. However, the sessions were recorded and posted for review for those who were unable to attend. These recorded sessions were a life saver.
Although it wasn’t a true example of a Hyflex course, it did include a common feature of the Hyflex format – the option to attend class either synchronously or asynchronously depending on the student’s personal preference or schedule.
The impetus for increasing enrollments in distance education, whether online or blended, mostly has to do with maximum flexibility and convenience in regards to time and place. The Hyflex course is no exception. In fact, Hyflex may be one of the most flexible delivery models to emerge in higher education.
So, what exactly is Hyflex?
Hyflex learning permits students to choose their preference in where and when they participate or access course instructional time.
“HyFlex is a course design model that presents the components of hybrid learning in a flexible course structure that gives students the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online, or doing both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to need or preference…” – Educause: Seven things you should know about the Hyflex course model.
Some students come to class physically or virtually, synchronously or asynchronously. A common design (e.g. OSU’s Hyflex Model) is to offer students the option of deciding which of these modalities they intend to participate it on a weekly basis. Students, regardless of the modality they select, need to be engaged in substantive student-to-instructor, student-to-student, and student-to-content course interactivity.
“…the HyFlex instructor is newly challenged to make sure all of her students are engaged in interactive, generative learning activities no matter which participation mode they choose.” –Dr. Brian Beatty, Associate VPAA at San Francisco State University
Certainly design and delivery are fundamental to a quality educational experience for students, but campuses considering the Hyflex option will also need to assess the logistics of course sections, teaching load, technical support for faculty and students before embarking in this highly flexible emerging learning format.