What is the HyFlex Model?

“A Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) course design enables a flexible participation policy for students, whereby students may choose to attend face-to-face synchronous class sessions in-person (typically in a traditional classroom) or complete course learning activities online without physically attending class. Some HyFlex courses allow for further choice in the online delivery mode, allowing both synchronous and asynchronous participation.” (Beatty, 2019) 

Fundamental Values in Hybrid-Flexible Design 

  1. Learner Choice: Provide meaningful alternative participation modes and enable students to choose between participation modes daily, weekly, or topically. 
  2. Equivalency: Provide learning activities in all participation modes which lead to equivalent learning outcomes.
  3. Reusability: Utilize artifacts from learning activities in each participation mode as “learning objects’ for all students.
  4. Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modes.      

For more information on HyFlex course design, please refer to Brian Beatty’s ebook, Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. 

How does HyFlex differ from Hybrid Teaching? 

A hybrid course delivers instruction and learning activities both in-person and online, but not simultaneously. Hybrid courses should take advantage of the best features from both face-to-face and online learning, creating the “best of both worlds” within a single course.  

In a HyFlex course, instruction and learning activities occur together in-person and online, in real-time. “The HyFlex approach provides students autonomy, flexibility, and seamless engagement, no matter where, how, or when they engage in the course. Central to this model is the principle that the learning is equivalent, regardless of the mode.” (EduCAUSE). 

 

Piloting Blackboard Ultra

Jennine Tambio teaches the Research Capstone course for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) at Lesley University. In this fully online course, students develop a senior research project based on an area of interest in their major. They synthesize the knowledge and experiences they have gained from prior courses through research, discussion, peer review, and reflection.

This summer, Jennine taught her SU1 and SU2 courses in Ultra Course View. Ultra is Blackboard’s newest version, redesigned from the ground up. It has several advantages including a more modern look, consistent navigation, progress tracking for students, streamlined grading, and more.

eLearning and Instruction Support (eLIS) at Lesley approached Jennine about piloting Ultra courses due to her heavy use of peer review. Previously, she had been using an external tool called PeerGrade which provided a robust framework for students reviewing each other’s work using rubrics. While Jennine liked PeerGrade, it required purchasing a subscription and the company was beginning to phase out its use in favor of a newer product. The Ultra Course View includes the option for peer review directly in its assignment tool. No additional tools required. Jennine also thought it looked cleaner and easier to use.

To get started, eLIS set up and transitioned the first few weeks of the course. Jennine quickly took over creating the subsequent weeks with guidance from eLIS. She had a couple of minor questions that were quickly answered while learning the new environment, but nothing significant. As part of the transition, she consulted with eLIS on how to reorganize parts of her course to make it concise and easier to navigate. She also worked to turn the narrated Powerpoints she had previously created into Kaltura videos making them more accessible for her students and captioned.

The resulting Ultra courses were very successful. Jennine got a lot of compliments from her students who “thought I had just made a beautiful Blackboard course.” Her students “were all able to hop in and seamlessly navigate” the course.

“It’s much cleaner, fosters more collaboration because of the format. The peer review feature was really cool and I loved that part of the course.”

“I enjoyed how easy it was to see what was due each week and to check them off!”

“I like Ultra Course mode much better.”

– Student survey responses

The process of transitioning her course helped her to “improve the quality and delivery of the course.” The peer review tools in Ultra were easy to use and allowed her to see each student’s submission, their feedback to others, and the self-review of their own paper all in one space. The students didn’t need to navigate to another site and learn another tool. And Jennine didn’t need to pay for a subscription.

According to Jennine, “It’s not a stressful transition.” While recreating her course took a little time, she appreciated the opportunity to rethink, update, and finetune certain aspects of her course. She found the final result more visually appealing. Her students were very engaged and she discovered helpful tools and nuances for a better teaching experience.

Interested in learning more about the Ultra Course View and if it is right for you? Contact elis@lelsey.edu.

Teaching presence in online courses: The role of instructor-created video

The concept of teaching presence in online course environments originated from the Community of Inquiry framework of online and blended teaching, developed by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson and Walter Archer from the University of Alberta Canada.  They define teaching presence as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001).  While there are many elements supporting teaching presence, faculty are often interested in the impact of instructor-created videos on student learning.

Garrison's teaching presence

The effectiveness of video in supporting learning depends on a wide range of factors, but some broad guidelines can be helpful. For example, using video for whole-class feedback or guidance created specifically for one particular class or learning activity might be more impactful and less time-consuming to create than pre-scripted, canned videos. You may be curious as to the impact of your recorded visual presence within videos you create. In this video, the presenter reviews some research regarding the impact of having an instructor’s face in the video itself, as well as some general guidelines on the use of video.

In general with regards to instructor-created videos, we advise you to:

  • Focus on a specific assignment, on a challenging concept, or for a course or weekly overview
  • Use video for feedback or other facilitation
  • Use short clips or chunk into short clips (4-5 minutes)
  • Choose visuals that support the spoken narrative
  • Avoid using a talking head as the only visual
  • Do not be overly concerned about verbal mistakes
  • If you are creating videos to be used for multiple classes, consider how much time this may take and focus on issues or topics that are durable across longer periods (years) so that you can reuse the resource.

Additional resources on teaching presence:
Role of course design on teaching presence
One instructor’s point of view (research study)
Strategies for teaching presence

Apply to the 2018 Summer Academic Technology Institute

Join your Lesley faculty colleagues for an exciting, immersive professional development opportunity!

The Summer Academic Technology Institute is an opportunity for faculty to participate in a learning community across disciplines and schools engaged in an exploration of the effective uses of technology in teaching, learning, collaboration, and scholarship. This event is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Scholarship, and organized by eLearning and Instructional Support.

All faculty — core or adjunct — are welcome to apply.  Faculty who consider themselves basic technology users or who do not currently use technology in their teaching are especially encouraged to apply. Faculty selected through the application process receive a $500 stipend for participation in the institute. Applications are prioritized to select faculty who have not participated in past institutes, depending on demand.

The program features a 4-day institute in June, held at University Hall. Faculty engage in a rich mix of dialogue, hands-on practice, project-based learning, reflection, and application to explore innovative ways technology can be integrated into their teaching.

Examples of workshops from past Summer Tech Institutes include:

  • Putting Technology in Its Place
  • Designing Lessons for Engagement
  • OneDrive: Collaboration Made Easy
  • The Student Experience in Online Learning (panel)
  • Designing and Facilitating Online Discussions
  • Introducing Media Into Your Blackboard Course

Expectations for Summer Academic Technology Institute Participants

Faculty are expected to:

  • Participate in all four days (~9am to 4 pm) of the institute: June 4-7, 2018
  • Develop a technology-enhanced learning activity for a 2018-2019 course
  • Attend or participate in at least one professional development outreach activity during the 2017-18 school year

Important Dates

March 30, 2018 Applications Due
April 20, 2018 Participants Announced
June 4-7, 2018 Summer Institute


Application

Coming Soon

Blending Diversity into Online Teaching

As a way to incorporate Lesley University’s Inclusion Plan into teaching and learning opportunities, we created a new activity in our Online Teaching Seminar this February.

eLIS’ Teaching Seminar is designed to help prepare first-time online instructors to facilitate their courses. One of the exercises in the seminar is to participate in a discussion about scenarios that instructors may encounter when teaching an online course. We created a new example where one student makes a racist remark towards another student in an online discussion. We then ask our seminar participants how they would handle the situation if this happened in their course.

We had the instructors prepare for the discussion by reading a couple of resources on diversity and inclusion teaching:

Based on the readings, the instructors had a great conversation and offered advice to one another.

One question that was heavily discussed was the idea of depersonalization when debating potentially sensitive topics. Instead of asking students how you may feel about a topic, you can ask them to present an argument for or against said topic.

Additional topics that developed during the conversation included:

  • After an incident occurs, do you address the whole class or just address the students directly involved?
  • Is there a need to provide statistics or studies to controvert racist assumptions?

There may not be a definitive answer to these questions, but we wanted instructors to wrestle with these questions and deepen their own standards for teaching.