All of us teaching and supporting learning have experienced 18 months like no other. We’ve experienced an emergency online pivot followed by many of us being required to deliver fully online, whether that was real time – synchronous, flexible – asynchronous or a combination of both. It’s been such a steep learning curve for the whole community, in all our various roles (student, teacher, researcher, educational / academic development, digital, careers, library, English Language support and more). Coming to the start of the new academic year in the UK, many of us potentially need to design and deliver small and large(r) group real-time, synchronous face-to-face and online sessions.
There are three main labels that are used in the literature and the wider educational community to define and make sense of this new world – Hyflex, Hybrid and Dual Mode. You and your institution may use these (perhaps with slightly different meanings) or a variety of other terms. We’ve distilled their main characteristics as follows:
- Attendance Options: “students [have] the option of attending sessions in the classroom, participating online, or doing both. Students can change their mode of attendance weekly or by topic, according to need or preference.” – a Northern Illinois University definition who use the term Hyflex. The University of Hong Kong uses the term Dual Mode.
- Attendance Both Online and In-Person: “Students have some learning online and also attend in-person synchronous classes. Online learning may be synchronous or asynchronous. (Online may be called remote learning or extended campus(” – Sue Beckingham defines this as Hybrid.
- Attendance Defined by the University – Need and Location: There may be two distinct portions of a student cohort. Students that are on-campus will attend in-person unless there is a need to join online (isolating due to Covid, other illness, accessibility). Students off- campus for any reason (especially those based overseas or in the workplace) will access the same session remotely online. Some Universities define this as Hybrid.
Stephen Brookfield in his book “Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher” proposes four lenses to help support critical reflection around teaching and supporting learning: (1) autobiographical, (2) students’ eyes, (3) colleagues’ experiences, and (4) scholarly literature (2017) . It’s important that we turn to these as many of us now enter this new phase of simultaneous teaching in-person and online.
We’ve all had experiences, recent and in the past as learners. What helped engage you as a learner? What are the values, beliefs, knowledge (including tacit) and skills that we are bringing with us? What signature pedagogies (techniques and activities) are important to us and our discipline and how can we continue them (Shulman, 2005)? For us – active, authentic and social learning and assessment is vitally important. What about you?
Let’s not forget to look at this educational challenge through the lens of the student. Our learners
- have had nearly two years of interrupted schooling and / or life transitioning into and through to HE / FE at whatever level
- they don’t know what their learning environment will look like (how do I…).
- they’d like to know that they are important and known, especially where they may become one of hundreds
- they need support transitioning into disciplines (or parts thereof) with its own language, way of reading, listening, thinking and writing.
- are going to be on an emotional rollercoaster ride as they navigate all of the above and the next phase of the pandemic
- especially international, mature and differently abled and may need more tailored support.
Colleague and Scholarly Literature Lenses
Let’s not forget that some US, Australian and Hong Kong institutions and UK innovators have been at this for a while. We have many pandemic experiences both individually and institutionally to draw on. Finally we have a rich body of scholarly knowledge, research and practice built up over the last 20 years around online and distance learning that will help us towards success in the coming year. Raes et al (2020) writes:
“It is stated that this type of learning environment requires radical shifts in the teachers’ pedagogical methods in order to accommodate to the new technology (Cain 2015; Ramsey, Evans and Levy 2016). More specific, Weitze (2015) provided an adequate description of the influence technology has:
“Although technologies are physical tools and not theoretical thinking tools or concepts, they change not only the way we carry out a task, but also the way we think about the task” (McLuhan 1964; Hasse and Storgaard Brok 2015 as found in Weitze 2015, p. 1). The synchronous hybrid learning environment requires a new kind of setup that highly influence the pedagogic and learning design (Weitze, Ørngreen and Levinsen 2013), and thus demands other methods of teaching and different activating learning activities (Bower et al. 2015). This means that the teacher or trainer has to adapt his/her teaching approach, but simultaneously has to maintain comparable learning standards (Grant and Cheon 2007; Lightner and Lighnter-Laws 2016)”.
So, how can we draw on the wisdom of the community and the lessons in the literature and practice around online, blended and distance learning to help those that teach and support learning to survive and thrive in this new normal?
Join us on Wednesday 15th September on
- Twitter (8pm BST and thereafter) for our traditional #LTHEchat.
- Padlet (all day) for an #LTHEchatFringe discussion. Designed to cater for those that don’t have Twitter accounts or who can only participate in normal work hours. Go to https://padlet.com/hefi1/e6t48ua86n0ivy66
References and Further Reading
Hybrid / HyFlex and Dual Mode references and resources
- A wide variety of Hybrid / HyFlex and Dual Mode references and resources have been pulled together here: https://tinyurl.com/Padet-HybridTeaching
- Brookfield, S.D., (2017) Becoming a critically reflective teacher. John Wiley & Sons.
- Gurung, R.A., Chick, N.L. and Haynie, A., (2009) Exploring signature pedagogies: Approaches to teaching disciplinary habits of mind. Stylus Publishing, LLC..
- Raes, A., Detienne, L., Windey, I. and Depaepe, F., (2020) A systematic literature review on synchronous hybrid learning: Gaps identified. Learning Environments Research, 23(3), pp.269-290. https://t.co/wUI5nf1Jbd?amp=1
- Shulman, L.S., (2005) Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus, 134(3), pp.52-59. https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/0011526054622015
Danielle Hinton – Educational Developer, Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi), University of Birmingham) @hintondm
I provide support for the enhancement of teaching and learning practice, promote innovation in the curriculum, and facilitate the career-long professional development of Birmingham academics and professional staff in regards to teaching and supporting learning. I am particularly interested in active learning (including enquiry and problem based learning), the emotions of learning and teaching, enhancement of learning through technologies, distance learning and serious play in Higher Education. I am a Senior Fellow of the HEA and am currently working on the design and delivery of a fully online PGCHE programme.
As a Senior Digital Learning Designer in DCAD, myself and my colleagues (Candace and Mark) provide specialist pedagogic advice and work with academics to design engaging and inclusive learning. Operating at the level of the programme or whole department we work to ensure an active, blended and consistent learner experience across modules and programmes. We also provide development opportunities around the design of innovative learning activities within a module, programme or at an activity level.
I have worked in education for over 10 years, and have particular interests in digital education, play and games. Recently this interest has led me to develop and deliver multiple Escape Rooms for use in education across the sector both nationally and internationally. I am a recent graduate of the MSc in Digital Education from University of Edinburgh, a Certified member of the Association for Learning Technologists and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Midlands Academic Practice network @MidAcPracUK
The Midland Academic Practice (MAP) Network is a peer run practice enhancement group with members from Higher Education institutions right across the Midlands (UK) region from Northampton to Lincoln. Members usually have an academic development remit in their role. Meetings run 2-3 times per year either online or in person and include a CPD development opportunity offered by the ‘host’ organisation. There are also some ad-hoc events in between and chance to build relationships and contacts with other members.
Question 1. What does synchronous teaching of in-person and online students look like for you and your institution?
– What terminology, pedagogies and technology are or will be used?
– Will you be supported?
– What size cohort or groups and sessions are you expecting?
Question 2. Learners who are making the transition into and through Higher / Further Education have faced two wildly disrupted years. How might we support these learners generally and in this new & different way of learning?
Question 3. Designing for active learning. How can we can adapt our teaching approaches & maintain comparable learning standards, especially in large #DualMode #HyFlex #Hybrid classes. What approaches, techniques and activities have worked, or not worked for you?
Question 4. Thinking about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (#EDI). How can we support student belonging, being seen, heard and included and associated emotions of learning in synchronous (in-person and online) teaching and supporting learning?
Question 5. What strategies and guidance should we consider when planning for the first synchronous (in-person and online session) teaching and supporting learning session? Be sure to mention your particular context.
Question 6. We’re all in this together. #DualMode #HyFlex #Hybrid might feel completely new, or you may have a lot of experience with it. Please make a recommendation or key consideration to bare in mind over the next year (pedagogical, technical or administrative wise).