Online Byte of the Week - Vol. 2

Greetings NMU faculty and welcome to the ONLINE BYTE OF THE WEEK, a newsletter created to share current scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) related to the virtual learning space, online teaching best practices, EduCat learning management systems tips and techniques, and to spotlight the exceptional means by which we bring cyber learning to life for our students. Click here to read Vol. 2, Issue 1. Click here to read Vol. 1.

Vol. 2, Issue 2, July 13, 2020

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a majority of institutions to shift to an entirely online mode of delivery, blended and HyFlex course offerings were growing in popularity in the higher education arena. Colleges and universities have adopted HyFlex courses to maximize the opportunity for students to participate and persist, to benefit student athletes and their competitive travel requirements, traditional and non-traditional students with jobs and other responsibilities or long commute times, or in semesters with inclement weather (perhaps any given fall AND winter at NMU). Now, these pedagogical methodologies of student choice are becoming the norm as the virus has forced us to apply creative thinking in how we manage physical distancing, student and faculty accommodations, in order to prevent the spread.

HyFlex Course Design Best Practices

How do we get started developing a HyFlex course, or even a hybrid course, for that matter? The answer resides in the Quality Matters (QM) online course design quality standards. First, we should begin with constructing the overall learning objectives of the course, what we expect our students to know and be able to do in order to exhibit an expected competency level. In completing this step, we can begin to map the structure of the rest of the course including instructional materials, learning activities, and assessments. No matter how we administer our courses (on the ground, online, hybrid, HyFlex, synchronous, asynchronous), learning objectives are key, the building blocks of effective course design.

Course learning objectives should be measurable. Measurable course learning objectives or competencies precisely and clearly describe what learners will learn and be able to do if they successfully complete the course. Course objectives or competencies describe desired learning mastery using terms that are specific and observable enough to be measured by the instructor. Examples of measurable learning outcomes or competencies use Bloom’s Taxonomy action verbs such as select, develop, articulate, explain, describe, apply, analyze, or create. Examples of learning outcomes or competencies that are not measurable include words or phrases including: understand, demonstrate, know, learn, be aware of, demonstrate an appreciation of, demonstrate knowledge of, and realize.

Once learning objectives are clearly identified for the course and each learning unit or module, the next step is to decide how learning can be effectively met in both the physical and virtual classrooms. Remember, with a HyFlex model, students choose their mode of participation as learning takes place simultaneously in both spaces. Faculty must ensure learning equivalency, meaning that students should study and experience comparable course content and resources, have similar access to the faculty, and satisfy course requirements in an analogous way regardless of how they attend. Students cannot be disadvantaged in the learning process resulting from the pathway to learning that they choose.

Students are never required to come to a physical class in a HyFlex model. They can opt to attend e-class 100% of the time. As a result, all assignments, assessments, and learning activities should be made available to students online. For face-to-face meetings, consider recording lectures or discussions and posting them online. Students who attend classes in the online environment can, then, watch the recordings at a later time. Furthermore, the recordings can be used by students who attended the in-person sections for studying purposes and to reinforce their understanding of the content.

Be sure to design course activities and assessments with accessibility in mind (images with alt text, videos with transcripts or captions, appropriate font color and size, etc.). Earlier issues of the BYTE explored accessibility. Consider using Respondus Monitor to proctor online exams to prevent opportunities for cheating; two Respondus Monitor professional development sessions will be held on Thursday, July 30 at 4 pm and Wednesday, August 5 at 3 pm, facilitated by Matt Smock and myself.

The online portion of the course should be just as interactive as the in-class counterpart. Design with engagement in mind. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the University’s accrediting body, does not permit correspondence courses. NMU is only approved for distance education courses in the online learning space. In order for a course to be distance education qualified, three types of interaction must be present: learner-learner, learner-instructor, and learner-content. Activities for learner-instructor interaction might include an assignment or project submitted for instructor feedback; learner-instructor discussion in a synchronous session or an asynchronous discussion board exchange; or a frequently-asked questions (FAQ) discussion forum moderated by the instructor. Learner-instructor interaction must be regular, substantive, and initiated by the instructor.  Activities for learner-learner interaction might include assigned collaborative activities such as group discussions; small-group projects; group problem-solving assignments; or peer critiques.

Next week, we will examine HyFlex teaching delivery best practices.

Stay healthy, safe, and strong my faculty friends.

Best regards,

Stacy
Extended Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE) Scholar
*************************************************************************************************************

The Global Campus has adopted the Seven Principles to serve as the framework for online course delivery standards (Chickering & Gamson, 1987). The Quality Matters (QM®) peer-reviewed quality assurance program has been adopted to evaluate course design rigor. Both methodologies align with and parallel the call for learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner-content interactions to promote active learning engagement (QM 5.2). For HLC accreditation purposes, all online courses must include learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner-content interaction (regular and substantive, initiated by the instructor) because correspondence courses are not permitted.

For more information on the Global Campus online course requirements or the SoTL related to them, and/or to curate a conversation about high impact teaching design and delivery practices in your online courses, please reach out to Stacy, the Extended Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE) Scholar via email onlreview@nmu.edu or telephone (906) 227-1805.

Faculty are encouraged to contribute to the ONLINE BYTE OF THE WEEK. Please email Stacy at sboyerda@nmu.edu with your ideas.

REFERENCES

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.

Standards from the Quality Matters (QM) Higher Education Rubric, 6th Edition. Quality Matters. Retrievedfromhttps://www.qualitymatters.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/StandardsfromtheQMHigherEducationRubric.pdf


Vol. 2, Issue 1, July 6, 2020

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a majority of institutions to shift to an entirely online mode of delivery, blended and HyFlex course offerings were growing in popularity in the higher education arena. Colleges and universities have adopted HyFlex courses to maximize the opportunity for students to participate and persist, to benefit student athletes and their competitive travel requirements, traditional and non-traditional students with jobs and other responsibilities or long commute times, or in semesters with inclement weather (perhaps any given fall AND winter at NMU). Now, these pedagogical methodologies of student choice are becoming the norm as the virus has forced us to apply creative thinking in how we manage physical distancing, student and faculty accommodations, in order to prevent the spread.

HyFlex Course Design

First, a “HyFlex” course is not the same as a hybrid (blended) course, our professional development miniseries focus during the month of June. HyFlex is a combination of the terms “hybrid” and “flexibility.” HyFlex combines the characteristics of a hybrid course (online and face-to-face components) with a flexible course structure to provide students with the option to modify their manner of attendance throughout a given course (Liu & Rodriguez, 2019).

In a HyFlex course, students can choose whether they attend classes online, face-to-face, or both. For example, students can opt to attend one week in person and another week online. With this flexible hybrid course design, faculty deliver content in both modes. A HyFlex is not a correspondence course, nor is it self-paced. However, course sessions can be synchronous or asynchronous.

A recent Inside HigherEd article emphasized the HyFlex model as a COVID-19 solution (Maloney & Kim, 2020). A link to it is below.

Inside HigherEd HyFlex Model Article

Next week, the BYTE delves into the scholarship of teaching and learning to propose HyFlex course design best practices.

Stay healthy, safe, and strong my faculty friends.

Best regards,

Stacy
Extended Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE) Scholar

Read Vol. 2, Issue 2
*************************************************************************************************************

The Global Campus has adopted the Seven Principles to serve as the framework for online course delivery standards (Chickering & Gamson, 1987). The Quality Matters (QM®) peer-reviewed quality assurance program has been adopted to evaluate course design rigor. Both methodologies align with and parallel the call for learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner-content interactions to promote active learning engagement (QM 5.2). For HLC accreditation purposes, all online courses must include learner-instructor, learner-learner, and learner-content interaction (regular and substantive, initiated by the instructor) because correspondence courses are not permitted.

For more information on the Global Campus online course requirements or the SoTL related to them, and/or to curate a conversation about high impact teaching design and delivery practices in your online courses, please reach out to Stacy, the Extended Learning and Community Engagement (ELCE) Scholar via email onlreview@nmu.edu or telephone (906) 227-1805.

Faculty are encouraged to contribute to the ONLINE BYTE OF THE WEEK. Please email Stacy at sboyerda@nmu.edu with your ideas.

REFERENCES

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.

Liu, C. A., & Rodriguez, R. C. (2019). Evaluation of the impact of the Hyflex learning model. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 25(4), 393-411.

Maloney, E., & Kim, J. (2020). Fall scenario #13: A HyFlex model. Inside HigherEd. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/learning-innovation/fall-scenario-13-hyflex-model

Standards from the Quality Matters (QM) Higher Education Rubric, 6th Edition. Quality Matters. Retrievedfromhttps://www.qualitymatters.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/StandardsfromtheQMHigherEducationRubric.pdf