two images together. One is of an empty classroom another is a screenshot of a bunch of zoom participants


To describe the major elements of Hybrid-Flexible courses and provide recommendations for design and implementation. 


The Hybrid-Flexible (AKA HyFlex) course delivery modality is used to give students more choice in how they experience the class. The term “hybrid” is used to denote that there are two simultaneous modalities utilized which include face-to-face and online learning. The term “flexible” signifies that learners are able to choose their modality, meaning that each class session they can decide whether to experience the course face-to-face or online. All students enrolled in the class whether experiencing it face-to-face or online are part of the same course and interact with one another. 

There is variation within how the term HyFlex has been used. For example, in a nutrition course, the “flexible” aspect differed in that students chose within the first two weeks of class in which modality to experience class for the rest of the semester (Sowell et al., 2019). There are variations with whether HyFlex classrooms involve two or three online modalities–synchronous and/or asynchronous. In mid-2020, reported implementation of this modality was not widespread and included institutions such as: Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario; Ku Leuven; Delgado Community College; Montana State University Billings; The Ohio State University; University of Denver, Peirce College, San Francisco State University; University of Michigan; and University of St. Thomas, Minnesota. With COVID-19, more institutions have been considering or planning to implement this course modality type to provide more flexibility and access to learners. Generally, HyFlex courses have different demands to prepare given their face-to-face and online components. Instructors must consider their learning goals and align activities and assessments such that they can be implemented for both online and face-to-face students. They must also be inclusive of the online students. 

Technology Requirements 

HyFlex courses generally take place in classrooms equipped with a camera (mobile or stationary) to provide a wide angle view of the room to learners, a microphone system with sufficient capacity to amplify classroom audio for the online learners, a screen to display the online learners and other course content, and the ability to video conference with the students experiencing the class online. Online students typically will require a laptop with a webcam and access to reliable internet. Typically, face-to-face students have similar technology to enable their engagement with the online learners. 

Recommendations for HyFlex Course Design

  • Starting with learning goals, map out the assessments and activities for both face-to-face and online learners. Plan out how they will carry out each activity (e.g. using particular digital tools) and how the online learners will engage in live class sessions.  
  • On the syllabus, be explicit about how the course will run. Ask students to test out all technology prior to the first class session, and do the same. Demonstrate how to use any new tools that you are introducing for use in the class (i.e. how to connect, log in, or acquire a given app).

Recommendations for Implementation

  •  Be inclusive of online learners. This can involve:
    • At the start of every class ensuring online learners can connect. If time allows, they can be asked to log in a few minutes before to check that all of the equipment is working properly (audio and video). In some cases it may also be necessary to share course material with learners in advance by posting on the course site. 
    • Making online learners aware of backups and contingencies if they fail to connect with the class and/or the equipment is not working properly. For example, if they are unable to connect or have trouble during the session they might view the recorded lesson and complete an activity posted in Moodle and/or attend virtual office hours to clarify any concepts. Uploading the recording to Moodle and sharing as a Kaltura Media Resource is recommended as this will give analytics and the ability to add quiz questions for engagement tracking. Additionally, captions can be added for accessibility. 
    • Assigning a peer helper for each class session to support the participation of the online learners if they have questions or run into any issues and troubleshoot or notify the instructor. 
    • Speaking to online learners as well as those who are face-to-face by looking directly at the camera. 
    • Being mindful of where to stand in the classroom to ensure online learners can see and hear the instructor. 
    • Using the document camera, which will be connected to the podium computer, as the “chalkboard.” Alternatively, the instructor could join the Zoom session using a tablet (e.g., an iPad) as the “chalkboard” using an app like OneNote or Notability.
    • Giving guidelines for how online learners can ask questions, and calling on them as well, for example, if they are using the raised hand feature in Zoom. Instructors can also have the chat be peer-monitored and ensure that any questions that cannot be answered by peers are later answered by the instructor. 
    • Acknowledging online learners at the end of class when wrapping up and taking a few minutes to check in with them to see if they have any issues. 

Raes et al. (2019) provides a few additional recommendations: 

  • Explain to all learners how the design of the course will help them meet learning goals. 
  • Create a virtual chat or discussion forum for the entire class including online learners to encourage connection and communication. 

When designed carefully, the hybrid flexible classroom can be an excellent opportunity and follow Universal Design for Learning guidelines and provide choice and access for learners. 

References and Resources 

Beatty, B. J. (2019).  Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. EdTech Books. Retrieved from

Cambrian College. Hyflex Teaching. Retrieved from

Raes, A., Detiennes, L., Windey, I., Depaepe, F. (2019). A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified. Learning Environments Research,

Sowell, K., Saichaie, K., Bergman, J., & Applegate, E. (2019). High enrollment and hyflex: The case for an alternative course model. Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 30 (2), 5-28.