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Faculty Fellows Series: Perspectives from a HyFlex Classroom

Students practice social distancing as they find spaces to study in the Talley Student Center during the fall 2020 semester. Photo by Becky Kirkland.
Photo by Becky Kirkland.
Teaching Associate Professor and DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli.
Teaching Associate Professor and DELTA Faculty Fellow Lina Battestilli.

This semester, many instructors sought to provide flexibility for students in the way that they interact and participate in class. In using a HyFlex, short for Hybrid-Flexible, course design students have the choice to participate in-person, online synchronously or online asynchronously.

This series of articles from our DELTA Faculty Fellows will explore the ways that they have implemented HyFlex this semester across a variety of subjects.

This is the third and final article in this series featuring Lina Battestilli, teaching associate professor, Computer Science.

HyFlex Motivation

I am currently teaching a CSC113, a first year introductory programming course with an enrollment of  approximately 200 students, and a third year 400-level computer science elective course with an enrollment of approximately 60 students using the HyFlex format. Due to the continuing pandemic situation, I found the HyFlex course design option to be the best approach to teaching my courses. I appreciate the flexibility this approach has offered to my students because I don’t have to dictate how they choose to attend each week, it is their individual choice. In these courses, about 50% of students choose to attend in-person and about 40% choose to attend via Zoom. Surprisingly, I have not even met some of my 400-level course students, as they have always chosen the Zoom sessions over the in-person lectures. Even so, this approach is working really well for everyone involved.

This is a chart of my overall approach to using technology applications in my course offerings:

Background: CSC 113 Introduction to Computing

In 2019, DELTA assisted me in converting this course to a flipped classroom approach. I built on this concept by incorporating the HyFlex mode of delivery in the one hour and 50-minute session led by me. My teaching assistants just added a Zoom option to their two hour and 45-minute labs that prior to COVID-19 were conducted only in-person. For the first test of this semester, all 195 students took the test as scheduled with some completing it via Zoom. I thought that was pretty amazing, given the fact that we are in a semester that is still affected by the pandemic.

The chart below shows a detailed version of my HyFlex teaching approach:*Note: I like to use my own laptop during my lectures (specific programs + touchscreen for annotating powerpoint presentations).  The setup would be even simpler for instructors who only use the desktop computer in the classroom.

This is a graphic showing an example of the HyFlex course design.