Teaching a hybrid or hyflex course takes some planning before the semester begins. To help you prepare, we have asked nine UNC Greensboro instructors questions regarding their recent experiences teaching either hybrid or hyflex format. The videos in the sections below summarize the responses of the nine UNCG instructors.

Special thanks to the following faculty members for their contributions to the content of this teaching guide: Dr. Adam Berg (Kinesiology), Dr. DeAnne Brooks (Kinesiology), Melanie Carrico (Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies), Dr. Eric Drollette (Kinesiology), Tammy Gruer (Library & Information Sciences), Dr. Channelle James (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Tourism), Dr. Jessica McCall (Communication Studies), Dr. Traci Parry (Kinesiology) and Dr. Brenda Ross (Spanish).

Hybrid vs. Hyflex

What is a hybrid course?

Students are required to attend both an in-class session typically once a week and complete the remainder of their coursework online. Students may or may not be required to attend additional class sessions, or participate in activities like discussion boards, virtually as part of class attendance.

What is a hyflex course?

Students have flexibility regarding how they want to participate in the course including in-class sessions, online synchronous sessions and asynchronous online. Students can select different options throughout the semester. Instructors may or may not require prior approval or notification of how a student plans to attend each week. Instructors prepare for both in class and online instruction for all weeks of the class.

Course Structure

Planning for a new course modality starts with mapping your course to ensure that the course meets the student learning objectives. Consider creating a course map as your starting point.

Mapping your Course – From the Online Course Mapping Guide. This is a great resource for planning for different course modalities.

ITS Learning Technology has created two Canvas templates that UNCG faculty can download and use to create a hybrid structure for your class. Watch this brief video to peek at these templates and learn how to download them into your Canvas site from the Canvas Commons. 

Hybrid Course Elements – This resource comes from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Center for Teaching and Learning. This resource walks through the process of converting an existing face-to-face course into a hybrid course. 

Hybrid Course Design – This resource comes from Wichita State University, OIR Instructional Design. This resource has a great hybrid course design website including considerations for planning, various approaches, and examples.

Hybrid Syllabi – This resource comes from the Oregon State University, Center for Teaching and Learning. This resource has a syllabus checklist, template, and sample syllabi that you can review. Your syllabus is your first tool in your course to set expectations for your students for the semester.

The Blended Course Design Workbook (2017) by Kathryn E. Linder. The UNCG library has an eBook located here. (This link requires you to use your UNCG credentials for access.)

7 Things you should know about the hyflex course model – This Educause resource provides a two-page description of the hyflex course approach including why it is significant and the downsides.

Fall Scenario #13: A Hyflex Model – This Inside Higher Ed article shares the details of a hyflex scenario including considerations. 

COVID-19 Planning for Fall 2020: A Closer Look at Hybrid-Flexible Course Design – This Phil On EdTech article defines hyflex and a sample lesson plan to show how to plan for both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

HyFlex Teaching with Jeni Hayman – This video features an interview with a faculty member at Cambrian College who shares her experience teaching a hyflex course.

Best Practices

Brenda Ross (Spanish), Adam Berg (Kinesiology), Channelle James (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality Management), Eric Drollette (Kinesiology), Melanie R. Carrico (Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies), Tammy S. Gruer (Information, Library, and Research Sciences), and Traci Parry (Kinesiology) share their strategies for facilitating hybrid courses.
DeAnne Brooks teaches Kinesiology at UNCG. During the past two semesters, she has taught using a hyflex approach allowing students to choose their course modality based on their needs. During this brief video, DeAnne gives advice on how to approach hyflex course design and some best practices.

What is Hybrid Learning? – This resource comes from Penn State University, Hybrid Learning. This resource has great lists of considerations and best practices that are worth a peek as you prepare.

Modifying Active Learning Activities for Distancing Table – This resource is a collaborative document facilitated by Louisana Student University. It offers alternatives to popular teaching strategies when teaching in different course modalities.

Online or Hybrid Course Syllabus: Suggested Guidelines, Best Practices, and Examples – This comprehensive document was developed by the Online Learning Advisory Council. This is a large document, give it a minute to download.

Best Practice for Hyflex Courses – This document summarizes best practices from the UTLC, Learning Technologies, and the Academic ITCs.

Unit 1: What is Hyflex. This resource comes from Open Library. This comprehensive resource walks through the design and facilitation process of hyflex course. Use the menu option on the left to explore additional content related to hyflex course development.

Hybrid-Flexible Course Design: Implementing Student-Directed Hybrid Classes – This ebook by Brian Beatty walks first-time hyflex instructors through the design process. Beatty taught the first hyflex course at San Francisco State University.

Building a HyFlex Course to Support Student Success – This webinar features a conversation with Dr. Wendy Tietz of Kent State University who shares her experience of building best practices into a HyFlex delivery format.


Additional Resources

Teaching in a Hybrid Classroom: What’s working, What’s not – This resource is from Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching and Learning. This blog post introduces an overview of opportunities and challenges in hybrid teaching with suggestions on how to build engagement.

Getting to know the Hyflex classroom – This resource is from the University of Oregon, Office of the Provost. The university piloted hyflex courses with over 20 faculty. This resource shares a summary from participating pilot faculty sharing their insights, challenges and strategies for success.

Student Expectations

Set the expectations for your students early in the semester. Consider the following strategies to help students be successful in your course. Use the additional resources below to find suggestions for wording and communication approaches.

  • Reach out to students before the first day of class via email to share how your course works. Students are likely new to the hybrid and hyflex course approach. Share your definition with your students. 
  • State clearly the expectations in the course syllabus.
  • Communicate in-class and online that the Canvas course content is for all students, not just the asynchronous students.
  • Use a consistent module format that provides clarity regarding the content to review, assignments with deadlines, how to attend class online synchronously, and how to access class recordings. 
  • If you are using a flipped classroom model, communicate clearly what specific content and assignments students should complete before attending a class session.
  • If your course has set weekly deadlines, communicate them in multiple ways such as a course calendar, announcements and throughout the modules. Sometimes online asynchronous students believe that hyflex courses are self-paced. Eliminate confusion early by stating when assignments are due.
  • Remind students throughout the semester the expectations of the course. Reach out to individual students via Canvas inbox if you see issues with attendance and assignment completion. 

Structuring Community & Sustaining Expectations – This resource was created by Central Michigan University to introduce sample syllabus language for hyflex courses, tracking attendance, group work best practices, and brief video series about collaborative learning and classroom management.

Hyflex Learning Option, What is Hyflex? – This resource was created by Genesee Community College. This resource shares a list of student responsibilities in a hyflex course. 

Classroom Management Strategies for Hyflex Instruction: Setting Students Up for Success in the Hybrid Environment – The resource is located in the National Library of Medicine, PMC PubMed Central. This resource explains strategies for sharing expectations with students and various classroom management strategies for a hyflex course.

Planning Your Semester

Resources for Planning Your Semester

Hybrid Syllabi – This resource comes from Oregon State University, Center for Teaching and Learning. This resource provides sample hybrid course syllabi for ideas on how to plan your semester. 

Hybrid Course Planning – This resource comes from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Center for Teaching and Learning. This resource gives examples of how to plan to use class instructional time and online resources to meet the needs of the course. 

Student Choice, Instructor Flexibility: Moving Beyond the Blended Instructional Model by Jackie B Miller, Mark D. Risser and Robert P. Griffiths from Ohio State University, published by the University of Arizona, Issues and Trends in Learning Technologies (2013). This journal article presents a brief history of the hyflex model starting with Dr. Brian Beatty’s introduction to the course modality in 2010 in his graduate level courses at San Francisco State University. This resource summarizes a variety of instructional strategies.

Use this Hyflex Checklist to help you prepare for your upcoming hyflex course.

Active Learning

Active learning engages students in the learning process. Instead of just listening to lectures, students complete activities and reflections that question their understanding of the course concepts. Active learning can increase student engagement with the content and their peers.

Hybrid and hyflex courses need to plan and incorporate active learning strategies to evaluate how well students are learning the course content and to build a community of learners. Hybrid classes can use active learning strategies both in-class and online. Hyflex classes can also use these strategies but need to consider how students in all three modalities (in-class, online synchronous and online asynchronous) can participate and feel a part of the community.

Here are some possible active learning strategies that can be used in either hybrid and hyflex classrooms to build community and increase student engagement.

  • Break down class time into segments with brief lectures followed by an activity and/or discussion. If an instructor calls out students during a discussion in a hyflex class, consider moving back and forth between your in-person students and remote students. “Let’s hear from our remote students now. What do you think?”
  • Facilitate classroom discussions. For hyflex classrooms, invite remote students to turn on their microphones and join the conversation. Continue these discussions online to inspire your asynchronous online students to be a part of the conversation. 
  • Use polling tools to ask students questions about the course content. For asynchronous students taking hyflex classes, continue these questions in online activities for all students as a reflection. Ask different versions of the questions online, not the same questions asked in-class. Encourage your online asynchronous students to review the recordings of these activities before completing the reflection. Live polling activities should not be for a grade in hyflex courses. Instead, ask the questions online after class for a grade. 
  • Use backchanneling tools such as Zoom channels or Google chat to encourage students to discuss concepts with all students in the class.
  • Use collaborative note-taking strategies requiring students to work together to document and interpret the concepts of the class. Students can use the Google Jamboard to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts and share them with the class.
  • Facilitate small group activities such as scenarios, case studies, or solving problems. For hyflex classrooms, move remote students into breakout rooms to have private discussions. To involve your online asynchronous students, use small groups in discussion boards to continue the conversation outside of class.

  • Consider using a flipped classroom approach asking students to review video lectures, exploring interactive content and low-stakes assessments online before coming to class. Let students use time outside of class to prepare for more advanced discussions and activities during the class session. 
  • Ask students to start and/or continue class discussions online. Encourage asynchronous online students to review specific class recordings for context to the conversation to motivate them to watch the recordings. If the class size is large, consider putting students into small groups in discussion boards to keep the conversation focused. When you return to the classroom, reference student ideas out loud in class including asynchronous online students. 
  • Require students to complete a reflection assignment after class for a grade based on the activities in the class. Encourage asynchronous students to review the recordings for context of the activity.
  • Consider creating brief, personalized videos throughout the semester to keep students focused. For instance, create a video reflecting broadly about student performance on the last big assignment and answer 1-2 commonly missed questions.

Additional Hybrid Resources

Hybrid Learning, What is Hybrid Learning? – This resource is from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Distance Learning. This resource introduces a clear overview of a well-designed hybrid course to feel like a seamless and continuous learning experience. 

Active Learning in your course – This resource is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring. This website provides a Hybrid Instruction Toolkit with details about specific strategies for the hybrid classroom. 

Additional Hyflex Resources

Teaching Tools: Active Learning while Physically Distancing – This resource originated at Louisana State University. This resource is a collaborative chart of active learning approaches and how they can be used in different course modalities.

Five Tips for Hybrid/Hyflex Teaching with All Learners in Mind – This resource is from Columbia CTL, Center for Teaching and Learning. This resource provides five tips on how to create a community of learners in a hyflex class.

Active Learning for Online Teaching – This resource is from Texas A&M University, Center for Teaching Excellence. Since it’s recommended that hyflex courses use a strong online course as a foundation, active learning strategies for online courses can be used for ideas and modified to fit both synchronous and asynchronous learning. This resource provides a detailed list of strategies. 

Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms – This resource is from Vanderbilt’s Center for Teaching.  This resource shares specific strategies for active learning for both hybrid and hyflex classes. 

The Hyflex Flip, Planning for Courses in Fall 2020 – This blog post comes from José Antonio Bowen, author of Teaching Naked. This post shares tips and possible scenarios for hyflex teaching.

Hyflex Spaces at UNCG

This video will walk you through an overview of how hyflex spaces work at UNCG.
This video will show you how to set up the cameras in a hyflex space for the first time.
This video will introduce you to the technology found in our hyflex spaces and show you how to share your in-class material with in-person students and distant students alike.

Next Steps


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