Skip to main content

HyFlex Course Design Models

HyFlex Course Models

A Definition

HyFlex is a course model that allows students the flexibility to participate in a course asynchronously online, synchronously online, face-to-face, or some combination of these three elements.

What would this look like in real life?

HyFlex classrooms give students the flexibility to participate in class in a variety of modalities and where the learner is continually advancing toward the specific learning goals for the course. In the HyFlex course, a learner could attend every single class meeting in person, or could attend every single class meeting virtually. Students could also choose to utilize both of these modalities during the course of the semester. 

As a result, some class meetings could have very few students in attendance physically, while the majority of students attend virtually, or vice versa. To prepare for inconsistency of physical attendance, instructors need to carefully consider their classroom learning activities and the online equivalent of those activities.

Preparing for HyFlex

Students will be participating in your course both virtually and physically, with this in mind, it is a good idea to consider how your learning activities will translate into an online space before planning for your physical space. There are some reasons for this:

  • In the physical space, you can more easily adapt a lesson to what you are seeing in your students
  • Most instructors have experience teaching in a physical space and know which learning activities best support the course learning outcomes
  • Some learning activities do not easily translate to an online experience and will take time to update/alter

Design with the end in mind. There will be a separate blog post that discusses backwards design in more detail. For today though, give strong consideration to the specific learning goals you have for your course. What exactly do you want your students to be able to perform/do/show when they complete your course?

As you identify those specific outcomes, think about the learning activities that support your students learning toward those outcomes. Are you asking them to do unrelated things in your class? Are you emphasizing physical attendance, even though that is not a specific outcome? Are you requiring your students to learning activities that are on the lower end of Bloom's Taxonomy, when your course outcomes require students to perform on or near the top of Bloom's? You may have to eliminate that one learning activity near and dear to your heart, the one you have always done - every semester without fail - because it no longer moves your students toward the specific learning outcomes for your course.

These are hard questions that will need to be identified and sorted out. Be intentional with your lesson planning for each week, make sure that each class "time" is devoted to moving your students toward the learning outcomes for your course. Make sure your student know which specific learning goals and course outcomes they are working on each week.

Design for your online students first. This may sound counter-intuitive, you already know exactly how your physical course is going to look, why design for online students first? It can be extremely beneficial to map your course out online and the biggest reason is this: all of your students can benefit. Students who will physically be in your class can check in on what is coming up, find your online resources, view talk notes, download learning activities, etc. Another reason for designing for online students first, is it can take some time to get your course organized for your online students. Yes you know what you are doing in your physical class, but not everything you do there translates well for online students. By being intentional and considering the learning required for your online students, you can ensure that those students who never visit your class physically will have an excellent learning experience.

As you are preparing your course for you online students, get out those learning activities that you are using in your face-to-face classes. Think on these, what is there specific purpose? Do they move my students toward the learning outcomes for this course? Can they be adapted into an online format? If not, revisit those learning activities and consider alternatives. 

Be flexible. A HyFlex course design gives your students several different options for participating and learning in your course during the semester. Your first class meeting may be full to the brim, with every student in person at a desk in your classroom. Two weeks later, there may be nobody in the classroom. Be flexible and ready for each class "meeting" to be a truly unique experience.

Ask questions. Transitioning from one course modality to another is hard. The CETL team is here to support you on this journey and help you make a successful change. Do you need:

  • Research
  • Ideas
  • Workshops
  • Collaborative planning sessions
  • Consultation with a cup of coffee
  • A quiet place to work - not your office

Then contact us and let us know how we can help!