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.
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.
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.
Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/Acknowledge
Cambrian College. Hyflex Teaching. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOIXi8Ad47g
Raes, A., Detiennes, L., Windey, I., Depaepe, F. (2019). A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: gaps identified. Learning Environments Research, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-019-09303-z
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.