Teaching Resources: Hybrid and HyFlex Key Takeaways
Written by Jennifer Tagsold, Lina Battestilli, Sarah Khan, Erin McKenney, and Elaine Bohórquez.
What’s your favorite learning modality? In person? Hybrid? HyFlex? DELTA instructional designers and technologists have experience with each mode of learning. Recently, the Teaching Resources website was updated to include Hybrid Learning: Best Practices and HyFlex Teaching: Best Practices regarding hybrid and HyFlex learning. Key takeaways are below:
- Prepare yourself for student reactions. In a hybrid course, much of the work is transferred to the learners. Students may feel that a hybrid course is “more work” than other classes. A great way to counteract this perception is to highlight the advantages that a course taught this way affords them (Zepeda, 2021).
- To help students with the time management and self-regulation skills required for hybrid learning, consider implementing the Moodle Roadmap tool. This tool serves as a visual checklist so students can clearly see what has been completed and what is left to do.
- Be explicit about asynchronous modes of communication for the days when students will not see you in-person. Will emails be responded to within 24 hours Monday through Friday? Will there be online office hours? Is there a Q&A forum in Moodle that is the best place for their questions to be posted?
- Maintain Strong Instructor Presence
- An important aspect of a HyFlex course is students’ access to the instructor and support staff. When in-person or synchronous attendance is not required, the teaching and social presence from the Community of Inquiry Model become more important to ensure that students remain engaged and connected throughout the course.
- Utilize course announcements
- Weekly announcements from the instructor help establish a faculty-student connection, which fosters student understanding and increases satisfaction with the overall online course experience (Jabeen, 2015). They may include reflection about previous topics, praise of student work, relevant links that can enhance comprehension, and an overview of what to expect for the next week (Tagsold, 2020).
- Ensure that all resources in Moodle are clearly written and easily accessible. Is Moodle formatting consistent? Can students find what they need easily? Consider using the Quick Start Course Shell to help make course organization and navigation easier. This DELTA video provides more information about the Quick Start Course Shell.
- Consider how much active learning occurs in your current course. Tools such as Moodle Chat, Moodle Hot Question, Google Slides Q&A, Padlet and Top Hat could be useful for including active learning in your HyFlex course (for more about how to implement these tools, see the DELTA HyFlex Workshop Recording).
- Be explicit about the HyFlex options that are available, the expectations for course completion, and provide sample timelines for keeping up with the content. The concurrent use of face-to-face, online synchronous, and online asynchronous teaching lays the groundwork for students to choose the format(s) that best suits their needs. The flexibility that is inherent in the HyFlex structure is a clear advantage for students who are nontraditional (e.g., who work to support themselves and/or families while in school), have challenges getting to campus or with consistent internet/devices, or have disabilities/language barriers (e.g., automatic recording/captioning helps students with hearing impairments or who speak English as a second/third language).
- While this flexibility can alleviate stress in some students, it can also overwhelm others who are unaccustomed to self-directed learning. Including regular check-ins throughout the semester alongside sample course completion schedules can improve the educational experience for these students and reduce feelings of being lost in the course engagement options.
- Ensure that all students can participate
- Use the wearable microphones in the classroom; these connect directly to the Zoom audio and the lecture hall speakers. Zoom participants can unmute, and their voices are projected to the class through the room speakers. Another perk with Zoom is using the classroom camera to ensure that all have a clear view.
- Include group activities
- Log into Zoom on a second device so that you can move through the breakout rooms to give students a chance to ask questions without having the audio projected to the entire class.
- Another option is to join breakout rooms from your laptop and change the audio from classroom Creston speakers to the local laptop speakers. This prevents audio projection to the entire class but enables classroom recording of group work and Q&A, which can be useful in classes that analyze data.
- Discuss questions from virtual students
- Check the chat icon periodically throughout the class period. When you see a question, read it aloud and then answer it. This helps keep everyone on the same page. Also have teaching assistants log in to Zoom (if possible).
- Include in-class reflection
- View a video as a class, then read and annotate the content in class together using Hypothes.is (a social annotation app). This enables deep reflection and discussion, regardless of students’ mode of participation or whether they would feel comfortable speaking aloud in class.