The only way I can imagine HyFlex to work well is to be as organized as possible. My planning resource is basically a checklist to help me prepare. I have mentioned checklists before (I make a weekly checklist for my students in each course) and I find them helpful for keeping me on track.
The checklist for the Fall encompasses four main planning components:
- Course content
- Blackboard online course shell
- Synchronous session activities
Technology includes maintaining hardware and software to ensure synchronous sessions run smoothly. Check for software updates, backup lessons and lectures to an external hard-drive, bringing a microphone for synchronous sessions so that those speaking in the classroom can also be heard by students attending online, etc.
Course content needs to have an organized and logical flow, with clear objectives and instructions for activities and assignments. Creating detailed step-by-step guidance for activities and assignments is best, and creating short videos to help visually explain things can be even better. The syllabus should outline a weekly schedule so that students can plan for sessions, assignments, etc. Content should be accessible by anyone from anywhere at anytime – so, use of weblinks, videos, and such (instead of expensive textbooks) can help create this equity.
At UFV we use Blackboard and this is often the first engagement students have with the course. Creating a welcome video is a great way to help students feel connected to you as a person. Creating a second video to give a “tour” of how you set up the Blackboard course shell is also useful; each instructor sets up their shells differently so students can be confused going from course to course. Keep all materials within “2 clicks” and avoid nesting materials withing sub-sub-folders.
Finally, synchronous sessions need to be prepared to be of value for those joining in-person, online, or those just doing the course asynchronously. These sessions may involve all students going to a particular website to do some analysis, using Jamboard and Padlet, etc. Or online students can do online activities in their breakout rooms while in-person students can do something more hands on but with similar learning outcomes. Saving all activities and links (and learning outcomes) in a separate Blackboard section would be helpful to ensure all students are on the same page.