Hyflex has been criticized for being complex for the teacher and students to implement, and can result in inequitable learning experience for the students. The following suggestions will help you to create more robust and equitable learning environments for your students.
Creating a Class “Home Base” Online
An online “home base” for your class can help all students to more easily find course materials (like the syllabus, class recordings, readings, etc.) in one place, rather than relying on email or paper handouts. Consider also using that home base for posting announcements and for encouraging asynchronous interactions between in-person and remote students. Middlebury’s learning management system, Canvas, can be an effective home base for your hyflex course. Check out DLINQ’s Canvas templates to kickstart the design of your course home base (see the Canvas Commons & Canvas Templates section of the Canvas Toolshed page for instructions on installing the Canvas template in your course).
Design for Online First
In the hyflex model, it is often online/remote students who feel disengaged from what’s happening “in the room,” that is, the physical class meeting. By centering the online student experience and designing for online first, you can help to mitigate those issues. Designing for online first means designing the experience you want the online students to have, and then ensuring that what you do in asynchronous and synchronous interactions matches up to those goals.
Activity/Strategy: Creating a Zoom buddy for students who are joining remotely. If your goal for online students is that they feel as though they can contribute to the class discussion, assign one student in the physical room (and rotate who the student is each class) to be a Zoom buddy for the online students. The Zoom buddy logs into the Zoom room during class and calls attention to the chat and raised hands. During discussion, the professor can call first on the Zoom room for their contributions, and the Zoom buddy can help facilitate the remote students’ participation.
Centering Equitable Learning Opportunities
If we do not intentionally design equitable learning opportunities, we can tend to privilege the voices/participation of in-person students over students who are joining via Zoom. We may need to rethink how we structure our class meetings and our activities/assignments to ensure that all students in our class have an equitable opportunity to participate and learn.
Activity/Strategy: Structured discussions help to create more equitable participation opportunities in any class meeting, and they can be especially helpful in creating more equity across students participating across various modes. Often, structured discussions will need an accompanying shared document (like a Google Doc or Padlet) to support the discussion. We recommend reviewing structured discussion strategies offered by Stephen Brookfield in Discussion as a Way of Teaching (or this workshop guide created by Stephen) and experimenting with the Circle of Voices, Hatful of Quotes, or Snowballing approaches.
Planning Each Live Session for Multiple Forms of Participation
An effective and equitable hyflex class session takes preparation. This example “run of show” for a 50 & 75 minute hyflex class session illustrates the type of planning involved. Kevin Kelly, who authored the “run of show” document, also notes that faculty should plan for activities to take longer than they would in a fully in-person class meeting.
Activity/Strategy: Do a run-through! Before the semester begins, visit your classroom and practice running a hyflex class session. Walk through the process from start to finish: getting the room set up, getting the technology working (consider asking a friend, family member, or friendly DLINQ team member to be a fake Zoom-based student for you), and leading each interaction/activity. Will you be assigning a Zoom buddy? Decide how you’ll do that. Will you be asking students to interact on a shared Google Doc? Make sure that Doc is set up.