HyFlex Learning Model Boosts Student Participation

Jackie Miller, the Statistics Impact Grant [digitalunion.osu.edu/tag/statistics] project lead, is piloting a HyFlex instructional model for her Statistics 145 course this autumn term. HyFlex, or Hybrid Flexible, is an emerging option that provides students the flexibility and freedom to choose how and where they participate in lectures. In a traditional hybrid course, the instructor dictates which sessions meet online versus face-to-face while in a HyFlex model, students are given the daily decision about whether to attend class face-to-face or synchronously online. Students may attend entirely online (aside from exams, in this case), entirely face-to-face, or any combination of the two.

The “Too Many Students, Too Little Time” Stat145 course redesign project was designed to leverage the technology culture in which today’s college students are immersed. Moreover, as seen in the 2011 ECAR National Study of Students and IT [www.educause.edu/Resources/ECARNationalStudyofUndergradua/238012], and consistent with findings at OSU, students say technology delivers major academic benefits. Students indicate that they prefer to attend, and learn more in, classes with online components. Modernizing and providing additional choices for Stat145 seemed like a win-win situation—especially in that it aims to resolve resource limitations that the department will encounter after the conversion to semesters.

Jackie and her team accomplish their HyFlex model by using tablet PCs, wireless microphones, wireless Internet, and web-based applications like Adobe Connect, Carmen, and PollEverywhere, not to mention students’ texting capabilities. Because building community is critical to success in the course, this model lets students respond to class polls via text, giving them the opportunity to participate in real-time, whether they are in class or in a coffee shop.

Although final attendance numbers aren’t available yet, the typical attendance breakdown during the first third of the course has been:

  • 50% attend face-to-face
  • 23% attend concurrently via Adobe Connect
  • 22% watch the recorded lecture only
  • 5% do not access lecture material before the next lecture period

In the past, more than 5% of the class typically missed lecture material on any given day, so this model already shows a significant increase in student access to lecture content.

Students have indicated their appreciation for the diversity of attendance options in the course and the opportunity for greater participation (via the polls and backchannel conversation [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backchannel]). As we head toward the final weeks of the term, the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) will help conduct focus groups, and Jackie will distribute the final evaluations. Look for a summary report posted to the grants archive site [go.osu.edu/IGarchive] in the coming months.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the grants, contact Robert Griffiths at ltgrants@osu.edu. If you’d like to know more about Jackie’s HyFlex experience, contact Robert or Jackie Miller at miller.203@osu.edu.

The next Impact Grant application deadline is December 5 at 11:59 p.m. More information is at go.osu.edu/IG.

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