Suggestions for HyFlex Teaching
It can be difficult for a single instructor to manage all components of a HyFlex course (facilitate an oral discussion while trying to keep track of the chats or while troubleshooting technology problems). Assign TAs or students to take on more roles, like chat moderator or technology troubleshooter. This can help create a more student-centered learning environment and encourage more student ownership of the learning environment.
Use live polling to ask students questions about course material. This includes using built-in features of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, which would mean that in-person students should also log onto Zoom while in class. Another option is to move live polling to a different platform with polling capacities.
In addition to spoken discussions between in-person or online students, discussion using text chat provides a space for supplemental discussion. Text chat provides an alternative opportunity for students to participate in discussion without speaking out loud. This could be useful for accommodating the inability to hear each other well in the classroom. Text chat discussion can occur over the built-in chat feature of Zoom, or an alternative platform like Slack, Discord, GroupMe, or Microsoft Team. Consider too that Zoom’s chat log can be finicky—students may not see messages if they are dropped from the call/join late/move in and out of breakout rooms, etc.
Tip: Appoint a student or TA to be the moderator of the text chat for each class session. Call on this person to speak up and share questions and comments mentioned in text chat, and consider signaling these moments in slides or during lecture.
Set up a Google doc for a small group of students to take collaborative notes for the class session. This approach can offer structure for active listening during class. The notetakers are not obligated to participate in the discussion, but will attempt to capture the main points of the conversation. The rest of the students then can focus on participating in discussion without having to worry about taking notes. This may be particularly useful in a HyFlex and socially distanced classroom where it may be difficult to hear some students.
Sample Scenario: Students get into small groups, with the in-person groups sitting six feet apart from each other at tables and your online students moving to breakout rooms on Zoom. Students are given some time to discuss provided questions or prompts in their small groups and report their responses using a shared Google Document, which you have access to.
As the students work, keep an eye on the Google Documents and monitor your students’ progress so you know when to prompt them to reconvene as a whole class and get a sense of their responses.
When the group work time is over, highlight a few student responses to share with the full group (either yourself or by asking a group member to speak).
Ask in-person students to pair up with virtual students for a Zoom call. Ask in-person students to use earbuds or headphones. This can be a way to include pair work during class time and foster community across the two groups of students.
In a jigsaw, students participate in two rounds of small group activities. In the first round (sometimes called “focus groups”), each group of students is given a different reading or topic to discuss. In the second round (“task groups”), groups are reformed so that each new group has a representative from each of the first round groups. This could help facilitate interaction between in-person and remote students.
For in-person students: supplement a yes/no or agree/disagree polling question with some vertical movement by students, e.g. stand up if you agree, sit down if you don’t. For all students: make X with arms, raise hands, or other clear gestures. Additionally, plan stretch breaks for all students, remote and in-person.