As the rate of Covid-19 infections across the nation rise again, particularly among college-aged students, some faculty are choosing to move to a HyFlex approach mid-semester. The HyFlex model created by Brian Beatty offers flexibility to students to attend class synchronously (at the same time) either face-to-face or from a remote location via Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or Google Meet). Hy-flex can also be a challenging teaching model to do well due to the social and technical constraints. Below are tips and resources to help you avoid potential teaching pitfalls.

  1. Audio quality or lack of is a deal-breaker. With multiple people in the same room logged into Zoom, feedback can be an issue as well as being able to hear from anyone in the class. Before you begin, let your eLearning department know you are moving to this environment so they can assist you with making sure you have the appropriate technology.
  2. Review this planning overview of HyFlex and teaching resources from the University at Buffalo complete with sample HyFlex lesson templates for reaching both f2f and online students. They have Blackboard, but the same concepts apply to Canvas.
  3. Subscribe to the Online and HyFlex Tutorials eLearning YouTube playlist to make sure you have access to updated training in Canvas, Zoom, and more.
  4. Use their HyFlex Class Checklist for each of your course meetings. Here is a sample Hello and Welcome for a HyFlex course from Professor Karyn Kiio. If you have large classes, contact eLearning to find out if a TechTA is available to support you with monitoring the chat and technology setups for your class.
  5. Use active learning strategies such as shared in these 2Min Tech Tips to ensure your online students are present. Do NOT require students to turn on their video cameras for your entire class session as they may not have sufficient bandwidth or control over their background.
  6. Support your students in staying connected. One successful strategy shared by Social Work faculty member Liz Post is to reserve the last 10-15 minutes of each Zoom session for small group breakouts. By allowing them to connect in smaller groups around a simple prompt or idea at the end of class, students are able to connect in ways more similar to how they would walk out together when attending in face-to-face environments. This also allows you some time to connect with your students informally as well.

This is a challenging time for everyone, but as Bulldogs, #FerrisTogether we will continue to meet the challenges and create innovative learning and futures for our students! Reach out to your peers and the eLearning department for any assistance as you continue to strive for the best in your classes.

picture of person on phone saying, "today's my first online tent making class.  I'm learning to use Canvas.  The cartoon is by Thomas Royce Wilson,
Humor is always appreciated–this is from where you can find many laughs about using technology!

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