Hyflex Learning involves any form of teaching and learning where the instruction and learning occur simultaneously, in real time, both within a classroom and online. This is the most challenging form of teaching because not only is the class being run online and recorded, but there need to be technological tools in place within the classroom so that students in the class and online can simultaneously interact with one another.
Hyflex learning is what replaces in-class teaching when any of the students are online. This is a good option if some students are not on campus because of housing limitations, or if physical distancing prevents the whole class from being in the classroom at the same time, or if any of the students are in quarantine or isolation because of the coronavirus.
Audio and Visual Concerns. The challenge is for everyone to be able to hear everyone else in a way that does not create any audio reverberation within the recording system. This can be done in several ways. For small classrooms, a web cam and microphone may be sufficient. A good option here is the OWL Pro camera. For most larger classrooms, an installed camera and ceiling mic is a better way. For the large auditoria, a different solution is required.
Web Cam. For small classes, a web cam and mic (either external or built-in within a laptop) can be sufficient. During group discussions, the web cam can be trained on the students, allowing the online students to see and hear the in-class students. If the Zoom meeting is projected onto the room screen, then students in the room can also see and hear the students who are online. The sound will come from the laptop or an external speaker.
OWL Pro. A good option for small classes, particularly those in a round-table seminar format, is the 360-degree camera of an OWL Pro. This is the size of a thermos bottle, and can mount onto a table. Students watching the class online see two images – a wide 360° panoramic view of the entire room that stretches across the top of their screen and a view of whoever is speaking. The devise also contains the microphone and a set of speakers, so it just needs to be plugged into the USB port of the computer running the zoom meeting. See how the owl is used here.
Pooled Classroom Technology. The CTL maintains 123 pooled classrooms on the Danforth Campus. These rooms have all been outfitted with high-quality pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras that are remote-controlled through unique IP addresses. All cameras have also been programmed with about 10 video presets, so a graduate AI, undergraduate TA, or CEM (classroom engagement moderator) can easily keep the camera trained on the instructor or board (or screen).
The rooms also have high-resolution ceiling-mounted array microphones that can pick up whatever the students in the room are saying and broadcast it to the students who are online. When students who are online speak, they can be heard by students within the classroom through room PA system. Noise-cancelling software prevents any reverberation between the mics and the PA. Many of Pooled Classrooms are also outfitted with document cameras and some also have intelligent touch boards.
A guide to using the educational technologies in the Pooled Classrooms is available here.
Polled Classroom Auditoria. There are 11 large rooms, mostly auditoria, which are too big for ceiling array microphones to function adequately. For these rooms, a phone-app-based solution called Crowd Mic is installed. Students who are in the classroom speak after requesting to have their phone microphones activated. Instructors who teach in these classrooms will receive special instructions on the audio system.