Hyflex is a model of “hybrid flexible” instruction that is hybrid because it combines online and classroom learning in a single class, and flexible because students can choose and switch between different modes of study. Hyflex classes support traditional, synchronous online, and asynchronous online models within a single course. Instructors teach their class in person, at a regular place and time. Some students attend in person, while others join using live video conferencing and other technologies of online learning. Those students who cannot “attend” the class complete the week’s assignments asynchronously.
Our students in the graduate program in Educational Technology like campus classes. We, faculty, like them too. It’s nice to meet with each other, to talk face to face, and to benefit from the spontaneity of conversations during and after weekly meetings. At the same time, our online classes are the first to fill and usually have the highest enrollment. Online classes clearly meet a need for our students. Last semester we began experimenting with the hyflex as a way to make our program more flexible to our students and to expand it to new audiences.
Beginning in Spring 2017, all of our campus classes will convert to “flex” classes (some classes will continue as asynchronous online courses). This new model, which we are calling FlexEd, meets some unique requirements for our Adelphi students. Each year we draw applicants to both our Garden City and Manhattan campuses. We don’t have the resources (or enough applicants) to run two separate cohorts. Similarly, we have been attracted to the idea of a fully online Masters, but again, worry about our capacity to operate a new track. With hyflex, we can combine our Manhattan, Garden City, and online students in a single cohort.
Instructors will lead flex classes from our multimedia classrooms in Manhattan and Garden City, with some students attending in person and others joining online. Students who are studying asynchronously for the week or for the entire course, will still keep the same pace as the rest of the students, but with extra online assignments. They will also complete group projects and collaborative assignments with their classmates.
Because our live classes will involve video and screencasts, after each session we can post lectures and discussions to the course’s website. These are key resources for our asynchronous students, but, in the best spirit of universal design for learning, they form added support for every student in the class. We know that these types of resources play important roles in supporting students with learning disabilities as well as international students who are learning English.
Hyflex courses require additional work for our instructors to set up and ensure a smooth operation, but we are confident that this investment in students will pay off with deeper student engagement, fewer students falling behind, and our ability to attract outstanding students from all over the world. Additionally, FlexEd has already enabled some of our fantastic alums to sit in on classes (remotely), forging greater connections between our current students and our growing alumni network, creating more opportunities for peer mentoring and support. If you want to know more about our hyflex implementation, or to sit in on a FlexEd class, please contact Matt Curinga.This article is from the Fall 2016 edition of the FCPE Newsletter.