HyFlex model in the post Covid era

Posted by Nicoletta DI BLAS on June 16 2022 at 1:24 p.m.

Tags: HyFlex model, flexible learning, blended learning, strategies for educators during covid-19 pandemic

Higher education, we are entering the "post-Covid" era: what shall we do? Go back to the old ways (e.g. shutting down the streamed lessons)or try to implement the challenging "HyFlex model" that serves 3 types of students, (1) on ground sync., (2) remote sync. and (3) remote async.? Hard choices are ahead of us, still full of opportunities... and we are going to need tools to support the changes. What and pros/cons do you see?

  • I would be ideal to implement the HyFlex model because of its flexibility. However, it requires investment in technology, very active IT support and a different teacher training to plan lessons that promote the same experience to every student.


  • I see the pros as giving students flexibility in attending class and enriching the numbers of perspectives that can be added to discussions. But it is challenging to implement as you need to think through how to engage students in different modes and build connections. I am doing a virtual presentation tomorrow on HyFlex in Liberty 5 at 2:25 pm. Would love to have a live discussion then to hear how others are doing this if you can join in then.


    • I will be there!

      Posted in reply to Janet Zydney

    • Dr. Zydney,

      As one of your former doctoral students in a classroom where we integrated on-the-ground and remote-sync learning, I remember finding it beneficial to interact with classmates who were not physically in the classroom. Many of those students could not physically make it to campus, so having the option to learn and participate in real time helped eliminate missed opportunities. Each scenario presented its own challenges (i.e. classmates' with web cam issues, computer audio cutting in and out), but as a learner, working with other students increases my understanding and application of the content, so having the opportunity to continue with that type of learning, regardless of the physical or virtual space, helped me maintain the same level of engagement. I'm curious about the direction of HyFlex models because incorporating async into the mix poses some very interesting challenges that might be just as beneficial as my experiences with the other two forms mentioned.

      Posted in reply to Janet Zydney

  • I recently attended a talk from our university's Accessibility unit who deal with students who have documented learning disabilities. The classroom shutdowns associated with Covid enabled their students to thrive, as they had access to more online resources, like videos & power-points before the lecture (methodologies encouraged by Universal Design for Learning principles). As we inch closer towards a return to in-person teaching, I would love to see more of these tools staying in the classroom, since our previous model wasn't really working for marginalized students.


    • Yes, I've seen that too. Many students appreciate that classes are recorded so that they can go back and re-watch specific parts. I hadn't anticipated that as a benefit and had worried that students might not attend because classes were recorded, but that really didn't materialize.

      Posted in reply to Rhonda Sears Chung

      • Dear Janet - sure they do, Here are some quotes by students from a survey we did at our university (Politecnico di Milano, the largest tech university in Italy). "in presence lectures were good, but recorded lectures are an extraordinary resource that allows you to go through the most difficult concepts again"; "Recordings save lives. The amount of information that I found I had lost during in-person classes because I was exhausted by the thick schedule was too great. I realized this when they introduced recordings. I think that we, as students, cannot have a a consistent period of concentration on everything that is said. That is why I hope you keep recording lessons"

        Posted in reply to Janet Zydney

  • My biggest challenge is when I have a class scheduled as face-to-face and then several students in the class request remote accommodations due to COVID, through the office of disability services. Then I am left to figure out how to manage teaching, activities, and discussions with half the class in person and half online. I would strongly prefer to have different sections planned in different formats rather than deal with the hybrid because I do see the benefits to each, but trying to do both at once is so difficult.


  • Good morning everyone, thank you for the interesting discussion. If someone of you is interested, tomorrow at 1:45 PM-2:10 in room Liberty 1&2 we will present an application to fully support the HyFlex model. The application consists in a video-annotation tool to let the students express their level of understanding during a lecture, that can be synchronous or asynchronous. Starting from this data, the teacher is much more able to manage the mixed classroom through the dashboard shown by the application. It will be a pleasure for me if you will assist to the presentation!


    • Will you be presenting this in a HyFlex way where virtual participants can attend too? It seems like most of the flexible format presentations seem to be located in Liberty 5, but I would definitely join you if it is possible. - Janet

      Posted in reply to Giacomo Cassano

  • I think we need to strategically employ every modality. Each one comes with their unique affordances and challenges and provides opportunities for choice, both from the perspective of faculty and students. HyFlex is particularly challenging because the technology has not really been optimized for this method of teaching and comes with a whole litany of challenges to making it work well. Due to the disproportionate burden on an instructor to design, develop and support a HyFlex classroom, we can’t treat it the same as fully online or fully F2F. But I think its equally important to have fully F2F or hybrid offerings that work really well for courses that demand physical proximity, and fully online courses that accommodate geographical diversity and alleviates on-campus classroom demand, particularly in urban schools.


  • One of the challenges mentioned during the session today is "will students just opt to be remote ALL THE TIME?" We talked about this a bit during the session but I would love others' opinions on this. I have noticed some drop off over the course of the semester of more students choosing the online option, so I am wondering if others have experienced this too and what can be done about this.

    On a related note, I was actually pleasantly surprised today at how many in-person conference participants chose to attend the online session, rather than attending a different one with an in-person speaker. I have never done HyFlex before when I as the presenter was online, so I didn't know what to expect. So, if you have chosen to attend one of the online sessions as an in-person attendee, what was your reason? Maybe that will help us all puzzle out the appeal so it can be replicated in our classes.


  • I experienced blended sync learning environment (BSLE) for some of my master's programmes. Out of the weeks, we can schedule a couple of times when we want to attend classes remotely.

    It's helpful because most of us were working full time and we don't have to rush to campus after work. But like a number of the comments here, there were challenges such as communication barriers between student-to-student, especially for group work.

    For myself, I guess the question is that do the benefits outweigh the issues. Currently, it can be a hassle to set up multiple cameras and tv in class for online students to view/ broadcast the online students. If classrooms have a built-in tech system (cameras, additional screens for broadcasting), I don't mind doing it because it does bring offer some convenience (eg can be covid, students with work/ family, etc)

    Here's a paper on BSLE: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1142285.pdf



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