In-person Classes are Going to Become Hyflex Courses — And How to Start Preparing

  • In-person = traditional classes that are entirely in person)
  • Online = courses where all content is provided online and that has two categories:
  • Synchronous online = online courses where people meet at the same time via Zoom or other formats
  • Asynchronous online = online courses where content is provided through text, video, screencasts, or asynchronous chats, where students can do the coursework at any time they want.
  • Hybrid courses = courses where some content is provided online (either synchronously or asynchronously) and some is provided in person
  • Hyflex courses = courses where students can choose to come to the class in person or to access course content online. In some cases the online option might allow people to synchronously “attend” class via Zoom or another format. In others, they might be able to allow students to access the content online in an asynchronous format, such as a video recording of the lecture. Some courses may even allow all three options, of coming to the class in person, “zooming” in to participate virtually, or asynchronously allowing students to view a film of the class or other content at a later time.

What would you want students to be in class for? What can students get from face-to-face meetings that they can’t get in any other format?

  • Consider what most needs to happen when you see students in person and prioritize using class time for that.
  • To the extent possible, consider the best ways to replicate that interaction for students who cannot come to class at all. How can they join in through their screens or share their thoughts at other times?
  • Consider flipping your course and providing content online, while using in-person meetings to help students individually or in small groups, or to help them troubleshoot what they were stuck on when they tried to work at home. This format lends itself well to hyflex teaching.

Where will students primarily get information for your course?

  • Lectures — consider ways to film and post your lectures. Better yet, don’t rely solely on lectures.
  • Written directions — make them available digitally as well as in class.
  • Reading texts — can students access the text on PDFs or websites if they aren’t in class?
  • Annotating texts — I haven’t used these yet, but a colleague recommended hypothes.is or Perusall. Both allow students to collaboratively annotate texts online. Incorporating one of these in one or more of my courses might be one of my goals for this term.
  • Video or screencast — ensure that clips or films you would show in class are available online. Here’s how to upload a DVD to youtube. In my experience, streaming a video in Zoom so your whole class can watch it together doesn’t work because it uses too much bandwidth. It works better to give students time to watch the film independently (with their mics off) and then resume the discussion when they have finished.

What will students need to do? What work will you need to see and check?

  • If students are doing worksheets or quizzes, consider putting those in digital formats such as quizzes on your course management system or on Peardeck, Google Forms, Quizlet, Kahoot, etc.
  • If students need to listen and take notes, consider ways for them to listen to lectures or screencasts online. Consider using Google Forms or other formats to create note-catchers and graphic organizers they can fill in.
  • What do students need to turn in to you? Ensure that there is a way to do this online through a course management site like Google Classroom or through another format.

What kinds of feedback do students need from us and at what times?

  • How will students see (and show that they have read) our written feedback? Course management systems like Google Classroom, plus Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and many other systems allow us to write comments directly on documents. Or we could consider or screencasts of us reading their work and providing verbal feedback.
  • How and when will students be able to talk with us about their work? We could consider using Zoom meetings, texting, or emailing.
  • How and when will students use rubrics or other documents to measure how well they met standards? How will we make sure they understand what the rubric is measuring? This is an area where screencasting could be helpful — teachers could make a screencast of a talk-through of the assignment, the rubric, or even a model that a student gave us permission to use.

How and when will students interact?

  • Small groups — create break-out groups in Zoom. Or use laptops to zoom in a student and move the laptop to put them in groups with the students.
  • Whiteboard — Zoom has a whiteboard feature that multiple students can use at once. Or there are multiple other whiteboard collaboration programs.
  • Discussions — use chat discussions in your course management system, or on another site, such as Backchannel Chat.
  • Create posters or a written document — create shared documents in Google docs or Google Slides, and add all students with “can edit” privileges. This will require getting each student’s email and then typing or pasting them into the “Add people/groups” field when you click “share.”
  • Consider finding other ways for students to share their thinking with Flipgrid, Padlet, or other interactive programs.
  • Annotate a text together using hypothes.is or Perusall.

What physical materials will students need?

  • Classroom supplies — ask students to find these at the start of the lesson, or send an email in advance telling them what to bring to class meetings. Work with the district or school in advance to send or loan materials to students who can’t come to school. Or consider other items they could use at home or access digitally.

What else we will need to do to make hybrid teaching a success

Teach norms

Rethink class policies

Homework policies

  • Check-ins — contact with us by a certain date
  • Progress checks — checking how well students are meeting completion benchmarks in the process of completing a project or meeting a standard
  • Standards-based grading — some schools were already grading based on completion of work and demonstration of meeting standards by the end of the unit. This might be a good time to consider adopting those policies.

Opportunities for Growth

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Suzie Null is a former middle and high school teacher and current professor of Teacher Education. Follow her on Twitter at WritingontheWall @NullSet16

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Writing on the Wall

Writing on the Wall

Suzie Null is a former middle and high school teacher and current professor of Teacher Education. Follow her on Twitter at WritingontheWall @NullSet16

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