Hyflex tech offers students more choice

Attending class in person, or virtually? With NBCC’s HyFlex pilot program, the choice is yours.

As NBCC strives to make post-secondary education more accessible and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse group of learners, HyFlex allows students to choose how they want to learn on a given day.

In instructor Aynslie Croney’s Business Writing: Applied Writing classroom on the Moncton Campus, some students are seated in front of her and others are in front of their laptops at home – and all of them are learning the same material.

“Allowing the students to have control over their learning environment allows for a better learning experience,” she noted. “I have students who do better learning online, while others prefer the classroom. Being able to offer all my courses virtually and face-to-face at the same time is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Surface hub technology captures a broad view of the classroom, while the Owl device shows a 360-degree view using video, microphone, and speaker technology to stream classes live. The goal is to create an immersive learning experience that gives students the flexibility they desire while preserving the feeling of being in the classroom, said Dave Kell, NBCC’s Head of Teaching and Learning Innovation.

“What we are trying to do with HyFlex is provide the best of both worlds, where a student has the choice to decide whether or not they want to come into the classroom,” he said. “It’s not like you need to choose an online stream or an in-person stream and you’re stuck with it. HyFlex allows you to choose on a day-to-day basis.”

He credits the success of the pilot to NBCC donors, who funded the technology, and the instructors who volunteered to use it in their classrooms.

“HyFlex only works when the instructors are engaged in it. It lives and dies by their expertise and capabilities, so I give 100% credit to every instructor that is using the technology. I’m here as support, they’re making it work.”

In total, more than 50 NBCC instructors are using HyFlex this academic year as part of the pilot project, including the entire Respiratory Therapy (RT) program.

Christy Bishop, an instructor in the RT program, said HyFlex has improved the overall learning experience for her students.

“They have autonomy, and they get more say in their education. I think that is a huge advantage to our learners,” she said. “It facilities discussion. I have people at home and people in the classroom, and they can all ask and answer questions and have discussions as a group.”

Thomas Davis, a second year Respiratory Therapy student, is enjoying the newfound flexibility of his program.

“It’s nice that the lectures are more accessible. You can join live, watch the recording, or you can even still go in person,” he said. “It feels like you’re in the classroom when you’re watching the recording because of the Owl technology.”

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