The hybrid instruction mode combines face to face classes with synchronous online learning to allow social distancing and provide some of the benefits of a face to face course. This kind of hybrid model is essentially the Hybrid-Flexible Course Design (Hyflex). Dr. Brian J. Beatty, author of Hybrid-Flexible Course Design, describes HyFlex as “multi-modal courses which combine online and on ground (classroom-based) students.” The goal of the approach is to successfully serve all students with a limited set of resources (time, faculty, & space). This gives students flexibility in their method of participation from session to session, creating their own unique experience.

Hybrid-Flexible Course Design provides readers with strategies, methods, and case studies related to HyFlex course design so that they may make informed and thoughtful decisions in their own HyFlex course (re)design journey. More specifically, based on the needs identified for their specific context, readers will be able to: 

  • Gain an awareness of the HyFlex design
  • Determine if and how HyFlex course design could help them solve critical needs
  • Find their own innovative HyFlex solution to their specific challenges
  • Begin the HyFlex implementation process using strategies similar to those used by instructors described in this book
  • Take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve their education practice, enabling them to better serve more students

Recently, a panel of experts (Betsy Barre, Brian Beatty, and Bonni Stachowiak) discussed the pros and cons of the HyFlex course model, as well as addressed the differences of fully online, flipped classroom, blended classroom, and other similar terminologies. “The HyFlex Option for Instruction if Campuses Open This Fall”  summarizes this conversation. A video recording of the session is provided at the end of the article.

Youngstown State University summarized the Values and Principles of the Hyflex approach as: 

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

In his article “Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms,”  Derek Bruff, Director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, answers this question: If I’m standing at the front of the classroom with half or a third of my students in the room with me, but sitting six feet apart from each other and wearing masks, while the rest of my students are joining class by video conference, what strategies might I employ to engage all of my students in meaningful learning?