Executing a rapid response to an emergent need for Hyflex (hybrid) learning

EDUCAUSE is a US-based not-for-profit organisation that is concerned with ‘advancing higher ed through the use of IT’.  This article provides a summary of a session on transitioning to Hyflex (hybrid) teaching, from the recent EDUCAUSE annual conference.

The session outlined a case study of an approach taken by staff at the University of San Francisco to quickly transition to a Hyflex model, or as known at Flinders, hybrid classes. The strategy needed to be simple, quick to execute and transportable, given that available classrooms were not equipped to simultaneously manage face to face as well as online classes. For some people this might be a highly relatable scenario, given the rapid changes to teaching approaches that emerged in response to Covid 19.

Determining and delivering upon a strategy involved several definitive stages. These have been outlined below.

  • Consultation – as every scenario is unique in terms of student cohort, classroom layout, equipment requirements and curriculum drivers, it is important to firstly understand what works, what does not and what is missing.
  • Set up and practice – set up and maintenance of strategies need to be as simple as possible and able to be replicated. Although technical support is available for developing strategies, this same level of support will not be available for the delivery of every class. Therefore, it is imperative that teaching staff are confident and self-sufficient in managing the digital landscape through which they teach.
  • Testing the set up in the room – to maximise the chances that unexpected teaching hiccups will not occur, it is imperative to test the logistics of both the physical as well as online spaces beforehand.
  • Support for first class – where possible, it can be useful to have support available the first-time classes are taught in this way. This support may be technical but may also be from a teaching colleague with some familiarity around such classroom dynamics. Importantly, the presence of another person in the room should not be as an integral part of setting up, but for back up if things should go wrong.

Final thoughts 

  • Need to be constantly mindful of where the audience is, what is the flow, what are the energy levels and where do they need to be.
  • Try to create interactions between online and physically present students.
  • Be mindful of equality.
  • Depending on student numbers and activities, different set ups for modes of (student) interactions should be explored.
  • Perspectives, strategies, processes are the same, and are independent of the system used (e.g. WebEx, Collaborate, Zoom).
  • Students provided positive feedback at the end (remote students felt included, physical students still got in person experience but with bonus of connecting with remote classmates).

If you are interested in seeing a copy of this conference presentation or have any additional queries about anything that has been outlined today, please feel free to arrange a time to meet with your College Learning Designer.

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Ed Design

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