Northwestern State University will continue the HyFlex model of instruction for courses into the 2021 spring semester.
HyFlex is a course design model that allows for students to participate in classes both in-person and remotely.
As NSU continues with plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the adherence of state health and safety protocols, the HyFlex model of instruction will be the reality of campus for the foreseeable future.
According to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Greg Handel, the HyFlex model allows flexibility for students.
“Because we split the classes into a face-to-face and virtual experience, students are able to attend live, participate in class discussions live or virtually, and still have the option to attend if they have been quarantined,” Handel said. “Likewise, it offers faculty who may feel unsafe being in a classroom to synchronously deliver their courses.”
Handel mentioned faculty members have noticed differences in student participation under HyFlex.
“Some faculty have been concerned that participation is not as good as it is live, and that test results aren’t as strong,” Handel said.
Keylee Boone, a senior English major, has to drive four hours on days she is required to attend her courses in-person.
While responses to HyFlex courses have been mainly positive, implementation and communication has been difficult according to Boone.
“Being from Opelousas, Louisiana, I currently live two hours away from NSU. I drive four hours out of the day on Mondays and Wednesdays,” Bonne said. “I’ve driven to campus many times just to find out that class was cancelled, when professors could have sent an email.”
According to Boone, many people in her class are also unable to make it to lessons because of their daily drive.
“Who has that type of gas money?” Boone asked.
Dr. Francene Lemoine, biology professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, has described her experience with HyFlex learning as overwhelmingly positive, noting that faculty have had to be creative to adjust to the new format.
“The purpose of laboratory courses in the sciences is to allow for a hands on experience that reinforces concepts covered in the companion lecture courses,” Lemoine said. “We have had to develop simulation exercises to mimic that experience.”