Teaching in the age of a pandemic – part 4a: Set-up and expectations for the dreaded HyFlex model

Phew. This year is no joke. I just came out of an intense few weeks of HyFlex: teaching half the class online and the other half face-to-face AT THE SAME TIME. For those of you who have been doing this all year long, you are rockstars!

I have so much to say about the HyFlex model that I decided to split this post into two posts:

4a. Setting-up and providing expectations/directions

4b. Hacking Google Slides to foster interaction with content and with each other

1. Setting-up

I have had remote students all year, and I have blogged about how I strive to include my long term remote students in the classroom experience. For HyFlex however, I had to rethink just about everything. Starting with my set-up. First, I got a podium so I could rest my computer on it at my eye level. Next, using the “Extend” functionality of my projector, I basically had two screens:

1) I kept my online students visible to me and at eye level on my computer, so we could interact with each other:

photo: https://support.zoom.us/

2) I projected my materials on the classroom screen for everyone (at home or in class) to see:

To allow roomies and zoomies to see each other, I use my phone, as explained here.

2. Expectations and directions

Next challenge: providing different set of expectations and directions when needed for each group. First, I had to train myself to stay behind my computer so my at-home students and I could continue to interact. This. is. not. how. I. teach. Sooooo hard. But it was the right “move” (pun intended) to ensure both groups’ needs are met.

Then, I trained my students to tune in to the set of directions that applies to them. “Tout le monde dans la classe” is the signal that the directions apply to the face-to-face students, whereas “Tout le monde à la maison” is the cue that the directions apply to the at-home students. And of course, as I have said before, this whole year I am using more English than usual and that is completely ok. I’d rather give two sets of complex directions in English so we actually have time to do something meaningful with the Target Language.

Having a verbal as well as a written cue was super helpful to make directions as clear as possible!

Below are some examples of such directions:

If you have been teaching in this HyFlex model for a while, what other set-up, expecations, and expectations tips do you have?

And now let’s see how we can hack Google Slides to foster interactions with content and with each other during HyFlex (and virtual) teaching.

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