College during a pandemic is an absolute chaotic thing to figure out for the students, their families and the universities. There have been a variety of small solutions implemented to help solve the larger problem, one of them being HyFlex classes.
HyFlex classes provide students a more flexible range of options for attendance by letting them decide whether they go to a physical classroom or participate online. According to Beth McMurtrie with The Chronicle of Higher Education, the HyFlex model "allows for socially distant classrooms by rotating students through on alternating days," so students in a large class may attend physical class one day while others attend through Zoom.
This alternating instructional method gives both the students and professors some control in case there is a need to shift to distance learning. HyFlex classes also lets students review previous lectures they attended online or in-person; this may help students score higher on exams since they are now given the opportunity to review topics they struggle with.
Giving students and professors the ability to decide whether they or the class needs to switch to distance learning ensures safety not only for the individual but for the class as a whole. If one student in the class ends up testing positive for the virus, the professor, when given the information, will be able to handle the situation efficiently and inform the class of their need to quarantine. If the situation is handled correctly, this lessens the likelihood of the university as a whole needing to totally shut down again.
According to Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed, the freedom of choice the HyFlex instructional model grants to students is especially important during uncertain times such as these. HyFlex allows students to take better care of their health by giving the option to attend class online if they are sick. Especially now, it is not good to be out with a compromised immune system, so this class system ensures students do not fall behind while taking care of themselves or family members.
The cost of going to a university is high enough; some may feel being entirely online is wasting the enormous amount of money they are spending on their education. The HyFlex model of learning permits students to have the in-person learning they are paying for while also having the safety net of online classes. In these uncertain times health, money and food are large concerns for many people. As much as college is romanticized, these are real concerns for many college students. HyFlex learning lets students attend class and justify the large expense while knowing if need be, they can attend online.
As a result of this pandemic many things are going to change, and the education system will in some way be impacted in the long term because of it. HyFlex classes also show a lot of promise in a hopefully soon post-pandemic world. If these types of classes continue after the pandemic ends, they will permit students to take better care of themselves.
Many students will show up to class sick, out of fear of falling behind. If HyFlex instruction proves to be useful, it will enable students to remain on track and not fall behind. This method may even help students improve their exam scores by allowing students to re-attend lectures. HyFlex classes make it easier for students to review and revise notes as well as reassess topics they may be struggling with before a test.
As reported in Educause, the flexibility HyFlex grants "encourages students to be more engaged and to take greater initiative in their learning, possibly helping cultivate metacognitive skills."
A university's goal should be for the students to succeed, but in order to do so, students need to be seen as more than a tuition payment. HyFlex learning gives students the ability to take better care of themselves, to not fall behind and to give them a better understanding of their classes.
Overall, HyFlex classes are one of the small solutions universities have in solving the large problem of providing education during a pandemic. This method allows students and professors to have in-person classes with a safety net. It is important for students, faculty and their families to know there is an easy transition back to distance learning if necessary. While universities are on the way to being fully opened back up again, the HyFlex instruction shines a little light on a dark situation.