CPP gears up for Hyflex pilot program

By Jose Herrera, Mar. 9, 2021

As the upcoming fall semester’s primary mode of instruction continues to take form, Cal Poly Pomona is considering a new method of instruction that has been in the works for several months-a three-part component that will give students the option to attend class in person, synchronously or asynchronously.

The HyFlex program of instruction is scheduled to begin its initial rollout during the 2021 fall semester for smaller, upper-division courses.

Laura Massa, associate vice president for academic programs, expressed excitement for some members of the CPP community to experience a safer return to campus through the program.

“It’s one of the most innovative things we’ve done in awhile,” Massa said. “Here’s an opportunity to come back to campus and interact with each other, and if you don’t feel safe for that you have the option to still take the class online.”

The program works by recording in-person instruction live for students who opt for a virtual, synchronous option. The instructor must still ensure that those participating asynchronously have the material available for them to access in their own time.

HyFlex was first introduced to graduate students at San Francisco State University in 2006, with the intention to remedy commuting issues caused by heavy traffic. HyFlex allowed students to access class content online if traffic or other circumstances made in-person attendance inconvinient.

The process of rolling out the program to CPP still has many moving parts such as extensive safety protocols, extra equipment that might be needed for classrooms and training faculty members must undergo during the summer.

Victoria Bhavsar, director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence, described the program as “intense” and suggested it is not something that every professor can or should adopt. However, her office identified over 50 faculty members that expressed interest in participating. Of those 50 interested inquiries, 22 of faculty members were selected. The selections were based on how well the faculty member’s course would fit with HyFlex.

“We contacted those 22 faculty members with more details about the pilot,” Bhavsar said. “Now we’re waiting for responses to see how many of those 22 faculty members are willing to commit after knowing more.”

Despite the difficulty of participating in the HyFlex pilot during a global pandemic, some volunteering faculty members are up for the challenge.

Assistant Professor Gabriel Davidov-Pardo in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science plans to teach a food chemistry course as part of the HyFlex pilot. Davidov-Pardo believes the program will serve as a special opportunity to benefit his students.

“I’m super excited to be in the classroom with those students that can and want to be here in person, while accommodating those who can’t,” Davidov-Pardo said. “I’ve taught this course for some time now. I have command of the material and I believe I can provide the best combination of those three modes of instruction.”

As the HyFlex pilot poses a new adjustment for some, Massa reminds students and faculty of the impressive adjustments they have made after a full year of sudden changes.

“I’m in awe of our students and faculty and how hard it is to teach and learn in this new environment,” Massa said. “They have come a long way.

Feature image courtesy of Ruben Rodriguez.

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