Should You Consider the Hyflex Model of Teaching?

Recently I went to the Educause Learning Initiative conference. While there I learned about something called the hyflex model and thought it could be worth discussing here.

The basic idea behind the hyflex model is this:

(a) students can attend you class either F2F, virtually as it happens (typically via Zoom), or online but asynchronous.

(b) these three tracks of attendance are not exclusive, and students can attend class in any of these ways throughout the course.

The argument behind hyflex is it gives students choice about how they want to attend. Because it gives them choice, they could switch into a different mode of attendance if they find themselves sick, accidentally overslept, or had some kind of life issue pop up. For example, if you have a flat tire it’s no big deal to take the class via zoom or do it asynchronously.

I attended a session on this because I was curious about how the asynchronous piece worked. I’m not sure how everyone does this, but the presenters basically record the class (lectures) for people to watch on their own time. I’m sure there are assignments they have to do as well and submit by a certain date.

Related: How To Stay Organized When Teaching Online

Is This Worth It?

Hyflex is definitely an interesting model, but I would be concerned about the amount of work it would take up front. First, if I was going to have an asynchronous strand to my course I would have to make videos that are separate from a lecture. I don’t tend to lecture much anyways, and my lectures are short (15 minutes or less), but I wouldn’t want to put up the class lecture. So, for me, this would involve basically creating an online strand that communicates the same content/ideas but in a different way. I could potentially use the same slides and do a voice over. That’s not hard. It’s just one more thing to do.

However, part of the Hyflex model is that all students have access to all materials. So, if you come to class in person you still have access to the materials provided to the students who chose to attend asynchronously. This is good because it could provide further support for everyone.

I can actually see benefit in the F2F portion of class as well as the asynchronous portion. Because I teach online asynchronously right now, I understand what teaching looks like in that realm. Where I have a more difficult part understanding the value is with the Zoom option.

Should Students Zoom In To Class?

I’ll be getting a better handle on this question in the fall when I will teach a class that has Zoom as an option for attendance. However, I just participated in a meeting where I had to use zoom. It was a large meeting with many participants meeting in person and maybe three of us attending via zoom. I found it very difficult to participate and understand when and how to contribute, but that could be my own lack of experience with the format. It was easy to follow along. It was also easy to drift off.

Using zoom in the fall, in conjunction with F2F, my first concern is about student participation.

Related: The Challenges of Online Education

Final Thoughts

Hyflex is definitely an interesting model that could have potential. It could allow for more students to attend a given class than would otherwise be possible in a F2F session, and it can better attend to the needs of students who might not live locally. The possibilities for expanding your reach under this model are definitely there.

It won’t make sense for me to play around with this model anytime soon. However, I wanted to throw it out there and get you thinking about. Is this something you would use? What do you think about the different components?

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