Hybrid-Flexible (or Hyflex) Implementation Guide

Description: A course with fewer than 50 students that meets face-to-face and includes some percentage of students participating remotely during the same synchronous session. Classes are recorded for asynchronous learners. Students who are face-to-face may rotate by day of the week to give on-campus students equal opportunity to attend class. The number of students in class on any given day depends on space availability and student preference.

Pros Cons
  • Accommodates diverse student needs
  • Preserves traditional in-person components and teaching styles
  • Opportunity to develop valuable course materials that can be repurposed for future classes and other uses
  • Requires extensive preparation
  • Taxing to engage multiple audiences simultaneously
  • Potential for tech issues to impede learning
  • Dependent on availability of a teaching assistant or course assistant


  • Research studies (Huang et al. 2017) suggest that remote students often feel disconnected or overlooked from the on-site experience, and may even learn less (Weitze et al. 2015) than in-class students. This may be especially true when there is an over-reliance on monologue-based teaching strategies or when technological issues delay responses to their questions or problems.
  • Teaching a HyFlex course of any size requires a high degree of coordination. Simultaneously addressing the needs of in-class and remote students is challenging for even the most experienced instructors, and can create excessive mental load (Bower et al. 2015; Ørngreen et al. 2015; Zydney et al. 2019).
  • The presence of recording technology can make teachers very aware of their teaching performance and can cause them to act differently (Nortvig 2013).
  • Requires a high degree of facility with relevant technologies, and technical challenges can impede remote learners’ success
  • If you are not teaching in a classroom with ceiling microphones, it may be difficult for remote students to hear in-class students, due to audio feedback challenges. In that case, the instructor may need to repeat or paraphrase the questions and comments of in-class students.
  • In order to accommodate students who are accessing the course asynchronously, they must have access to recorded class sessions.


  • Flexibility benefits students with competing job, family, and health circumstances, leading to more equitable access to education and equality in learning outcomes
  • Exposes students to potential uses of technology and increases students’ technological savvy
  • Recorded lectures and other asynchronous course materials can be repurposed in future semesters to supplement a face-to-face class or as an accessible option for students who face challenges attending in person.
  • Early research results suggest that learning outcomes in HyFlex classrooms such as test scores (White et al. 2010), motivation, needs satisfaction, and perceived success (Butz and Stupnisky 2016) are comparable to face-to-face classrooms.

Make it Work

Location matters. Nearly 60 general purpose classrooms on campus will be outfitted with ceiling microphones and additional cameras, making it easier for in-class and remote students to hear and see each other during class discussions. Efforts will be made to schedule courses slated to be offered in HyFlex in these classrooms.

Decide who attends class on any given day. If you are in a classroom that cannot accommodate all students registered for the course, you will have to decide how to ensure that all students interested in attending class in person have an equal opportunity to do so. If, for example, enough students decide they do not plan to attend in person at all, then you may not need a formal policy. Otherwise, you will need to consider surveying and polling options to find the best schedule for rotating students into the classroom.
Prepare your students: Provide clear instructions to your students: ask them to create an inventory of their remote workspace, give them instructions to check their audio and video function before the first session, and allow them to log in early to synchronous sessions, so that there is sufficient time to test and resolve possible problems with AV access (Ramsey et al. 2016, Bower et al. 2015)
Keep all students engaged: Actively solicit the comments and questions of remote learners during full class discussions. If you don’t find it disruptive, consider encouraging student participation in back-channel tools such as Zoom chat. Use small group activities via Zoom breakout rooms to promote remote student interaction. Record synchronous classes, post them promptly, and set up discussion forums in Sakai for students participating asynchronously.
Promote interaction between in-class and remote students. Look for opportunities for in-class students and remote students to communicate and collaborate. In addition to full class discussion, consider having all students participate in Zoom chat during synchronous sessions. Asynchronous options for interaction between the two groups include discussion forums, shared note-taking, and group projects/assignments.
Use a course assistant.  Most instructors will find it helpful to have a second person (e.g. a graduate assistant, work-study student, ULA, or rotating in-class student) monitoring remote students’ questions and managing the technology necessary to keep them engaged. Check with your department to see about options for supporting a course assistant. Course assistants should sit in a location where eye contact with the instructor is easy to maintain so that they can easily get the instructor’s attention when they need to flag remote students’ comments and questions in Zoom.
Seek student feedback. Given that this format is likely new to you and your students, check in with them early on about how things are going. A few rough spots are to be expected initially; student feedback can help you prioritize your course adjustments.
Stick to what works: Once you’ve worked out the kinks with a given set of tech tools, resist the temptation to add new methods. Small usability issues resulting from updating technologies has been shown to confuse, delay or hinder the learning process (Bell et al. 2014; Weitze 2015).

Learn More:

Fall Scenario #13: A HyFlex Model (Inside Higher Ed)

Can HyFlex Options Support Students in the Midst of Uncertainty? (Educause Review)

HyFlex Learning (Teaching in Higher Ed)

Student Choice, Instructor Flexibility: Moving Beyond the Blended Instructional Model (Issues and Trends in Learning Technologies)

COVID-19 Planning for Fall 2020: A Closer Look at Hybrid-Flexible Course Design (Phil on EdTech)

How I would approach fall semester: A personal Zoomflex-based view (Caulfield, WSU-Vancouver)



Beatty, B. J. (2019). Hybrid-Flexible Course Design. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/hyflex/

Bell, J., Sawaya, S., & Cain, W. (2014). Synchromodal classes: Designing for shared learning experiences between face-to-face and online students. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 5(1), 68–82. https://doi.org/10.14434/ijdl.v5i1.12657.

Bower, M., Dalgarno, B., Kennedy, G. E., Lee, M. J. W., & Kenney, J. (2015). Design and implementation factors in blended synchronous learning environments: Outcomes from a cross-case analysis. Computers & Education, 86, 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2015.03.006.

Butz, N. T., & Stupnisky, R. H. (2016). A mixed methods study of graduate students’ self-determined motivation in synchronous hybrid learning environments. The Internet and Higher Education, 28, 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2015.10.003.

Huang, Y., Shu, F., Zhao, C., & Huang, J. (2017). Investigating and analyzing teaching effect of blended synchronous classroom. In 6th International Conference of Educational Innovation Through Technology (EITT) (pp. 134–135). https://doi.org/10.1109/EITT.2017.40.

Nortvig, A.-M. (2013). In the presence of technology—Teaching in hybrid synchronous classrooms. In Proceedings of the European conference on Elearning, ECEL (pp. 347–353).

Ørngreen, R., Levinsen, K., Jelsbak, V., Moller, K. L., & Bendsen, T. (2015). Simultaneous class-based and live video streamed teaching: Experiences and derived principles from the bachelor programme in biomedical laboratory analysis. In A. Jefferies & M. Cubric (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th European conference on Elearning (ECEL 2015) (pp. 451–459). Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited.

Raes, A., Detienne, L., Windey, I., & Depaepe, F. (2019). Learning Environments Research https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-019-09303-z.

Ramsey, D., Evans, J., & Levy, M. (2016). Preserving the seminar experience. Journal of Political Science Education, 12(3), 256–267. https://doi.org/10.1080/15512169.2015.1077713.

Weitze, C. L. (2015). Pedagogical innovation in teacher teams: An organisational learning design model for continuous competence development. In Jefferies, I. A. & Cubric, M. (Eds.), Proceedings of 14th European conference on eLearning ECEL2015 (s. 629–638). Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International.

Zydney, J. M., McKimm, P., Lindberg, R., & Schmidt, M. (2019). Here or there instruction: Lessons learned in implementing innovative approaches to blended synchronous learning. TechTrends. https:// doi.org/10.1007/s11528-018-0344-z.

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