Christopher Schaberg’s current piece, HyFlex Is Not the Way forward for Studying, is getting shared round throughout the upper ed interwebs. Schaberg, a professor of English at Loyola College New Orleans, memorably calls HyFlex the “black mirror” of upper ed.
In a response piece referred to as How To not Write About HyFlex or On-line Studying, Bryan Alexander takes Schaberg to process for failing to have interaction the literature on this topic, for generalizing throughout increased ed from a single instance, and for conflating HyFlex with on-line studying.
In our ebook, The Low-Density College: 15 Eventualities for Larger Training, Eddie Maloney and I cowl HyFlex as one of many potential methods (state of affairs #13) for universities to make sure resiliency through the pandemic, giving consideration to the various challenges concerned on this method.
With all this speak about HyFlex, I used to be to listen to from a colleague about an instance the place HyFlex truly labored properly. That instance got here from my yard, and it occurred through the January 2022 residential part of Dartmouth’s Grasp of Well being Care Supply Science (MHCDS) program. To study extra about this explicit instance of HyFlex, I reached out to my longtime pal and colleague Dr. Katy Milligan, MHCDS’s founding Program Director. Katy graciously agreed to reply my questions on her program’s optimistic HyFlex expertise.
Q1: Are you able to inform us in regards to the MHCDS program, its construction, and its college students — and why it was vital in your staff to undertake a HyFlex mannequin through the January 2022 residential session?
MHCDS is a 12-month, hybrid diploma program for mid-career well being care leaders, collectively supplied by the colleges of the Geisel Faculty of Drugs and the Tuck Faculty of Enterprise at Dartmouth. Our college students are clinician-leaders and executives from hospitals and well being methods, non-public practices, safety-net establishments, medical insurance, state and nationwide authorities, and the U.S. army. They’re extremely dedicated to the schooling we provide as a technique to remodel well being care supply for the higher inside their residence organizations.
As a result of our college students have demanding jobs and vital private commitments, they want predictability and adaptability of their academic necessities and a excessive service degree from college and employees. As well as, as a result of they’re already so achieved, college students have a terrific deal to study from one another, in addition to from college. The MHCDS program is designed with these pupil qualities in thoughts. The educational calendar consists of three quick residential durations of 5-8 days every with the express purpose of constructing belief and creating a way of neighborhood. The remainder of the schooling is delivered on-line, with programs constructed on an ordinary weekly construction of lessons and assignments. This system is cohort-based with numerous small group work.
In the course of the first yr of COVID, our residential periods needed to transfer on-line. We produced two “Unresidentials” that had been scaled again in whole contact hours, however nonetheless created numerous Zoom fatigue. In August of 2021, after vaccinations however earlier than delta or omicron, we had a cautious however comparatively regular on-campus residential. With the Unresidentials, our college students expressed nice remorse and a way of loss. They missed the social interplay, the casual “water-cooler” sort extension of classroom conversations, and the sense of help they bought from one another. After we had been in a position to carry the scholars again to campus final August, they expressed a mixture of trepidation, aid, and even pleasure. Now we have heard rather a lot within the final couple of years in regards to the psychological well being wants of undergraduates who crave social interplay; this was additionally true of our mid-career graduate college students of their 40s and 50s. It was a supply of solace for them to be collectively.
In January 2022, then, it was clear that we wanted to help these college students who might journey to campus. Nevertheless, with omicron surging nationally and regionally, we additionally wanted to help those that couldn’t. In the long run, about 25% of the scholar had been distant, for a wide range of causes: baby care (faculties and daycares closed unpredictably), calls for of labor (between workforce shortages and COVID “my hospital is in a state of chaos”), journey (flights canceled because of COVID-related staffing points), and private or household sickness. As well as, three MHCDS college members who don’t reside regionally opted to show remotely reasonably than journey to campus.
Q2: Describe the folks and know-how assets that your staff was in a position to make the most of to concurrently educate in-person and distant college students? What was the educational expertise like for the scholars in each the bodily and digital classroom, and what was the educating expertise like for the professors?
Residential durations for MHCDS are meant to construct belief and domesticate neighborhood. Academically, some lessons are introductory periods for upcoming on-line programs and a few are a part of residential-only programs. As an illustration, the Operations course, which takes place primarily on-line, had an introductory class through the January 2022 residential; the Technique course had 9 of its 18 whole lessons. All in all, the residential concerned 55 lessons with 19 completely different professors over 8 days.
We had been lucky to have the ability to use lecture rooms on the Tuck Faculty of Enterprise which were upgraded through the pandemic with hyflex studying in thoughts. Most significantly from my perspective, the audio capabilities of the lecture rooms had been terrific. With out extra microphones, phrases spoken at a standard quantity within the classroom (even with obligatory masking) had been crystal clear to these on Zoom, and vice-versa.
Distant college students’ video pictures had been projected for the in-person class members on one display screen and the professor’s slides on the opposite; the identical was true for confidence screens, in order that the college, too, might see each. For distant college students, we at all times had a digicam on the trainer, and among the bigger lecture rooms had automated digicam methods able to displaying each the trainer and college students talking within the classroom. Distant college students raised their palms to talk. Distant college students might additionally chat with one another and employees monitored the chat in case trouble-shooting was vital, however the chat was not projected within the classroom.
Importantly, for every class, the college had two employees companions: one to run the know-how and the opposite to help with educating wants (e.g. handouts, note-taking) and monitor the Zoom room. This degree of staffing was a rare luxurious, enabled on all sides by the popularity that the scenario supplied a novel alternative to implement greatest practices for hyflex and to study from the expertise.
The training expertise was seamless for residential college students, they usually had been deeply grateful that we made the hassle to have them on campus reasonably than shifting your entire residential on-line as we had the yr earlier than. In our post-residential analysis, one pupil wrote:
“I believe, on reflection, the Summer time 2021 and Winter 2021 residentials mustn’t have moved to full distant, and going ahead, the choice ought to be hyflex till we attain the endemic part. I bought a lot achievement from the in-person residentials; I really feel just like the full-remote residentials disadvantaged us of an expertise that most of the college students had enrolled on this particular program for.”
Distant college students had been drained due to time-zone points (some had been on the west coast) and basic Zoom fatigue, however participated actively at school all through and in addition expressed gratitude that we made such efforts to incorporate them. Feedback from distant college students included:
“Thanks for guaranteeing these of us attending nearly had every part we wanted previous to and through residential. I loved the programs, breakout periods, and visitor audio system.”
“Nice job providing a digital expertise that was pretty immersive.”
Instructing was most profitable for the college members who gave some thought to the hyflex mode forward of time and actively engaged with the employees who’re consultants in hyflex studying. Many professors used breakout rooms for in-class small-group dialogue, and a few used polls to generate a wide range of opinions and spur dialogue. For everybody concerned, the extent of employees and know-how assets – in addition to everybody’s growing consolation with educating and studying remotely – made it a really clean expertise.
Q3: The classroom, know-how, and other people assets that the MHCDS program had been in a position to entry for this instance of HyFlex instruction appear to be extraordinarily sturdy. How would you reply to readers who could be considering that these types of assets are too costly for the overwhelming majority of all faculties to even think about deploying to help HyFlex instruction? Are there much less resource-intensive options, or do you assume that this degree of tutorial funding is non-negotiable for profitable HyFlex instruction?
The funding in employees and know-how assets definitely made the January 2022 expertise a wonderful one. We had been additionally producing hyflex schooling for a restricted time period and for less than two lessons of scholars without delay, each of which allowed us to go all out and actually give attention to high quality.
If I consider doing hyflex instruction at scale – throughout an entire faculty for total semesters at a time – I believe there could be a center floor. Do you want extra employees and know-how assets than you’ll for those who had been educating solely on-line or solely in residence? Sure. However do you want the extent of assets that we had for our current expertise? Most likely not.
Having attended hyflex lessons (ours and others) each in-person and on-line, I imagine the funding in know-how is non-negotiable. Actually, the Tuck Faculty has discovered it invaluable as they’ve operated in hyflex mode all through the pandemic. Particularly, it has been my expertise that with out good audio, classroom studying grinds to a halt. Workarounds like passing a mic or repeating feedback and questions add sufficient of a barrier that they appear unsustainable over greater than a category or two. (The hyflex mode may also give faculties extra flexibility to accommodate college students with listening to impairment utilizing distant assets.) The excellent news is that know-how turns into cheaper over time, so outfitting lecture rooms ought to be much less of a monetary burden sooner or later.
With regard to employees, I believe it could be attainable over time to develop methods that will permit hyflex instruction with fewer employees than we used. With simplified processes, user-friendly know-how interfaces, and good assist employees on name, professors might study to start out up and use a hyflex classroom in the identical manner that many people over the previous few years have change into adept at beginning up and utilizing a Zoom room. Then the identical variety of employees might help extra hyflex instruction, or employees might tackle the extra forward-looking work of serving to college plan for wonderful hyflex studying experiences.