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UCF welcomes faculty, staff, and students back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. For information and resources related to BlendFlex and Remote instruction, please refer to UCF Keep Teaching (for faculty) and UCF Keep Learning (for students) pages. Additionally, be sure to review Our Promise to Support the UCF Community and see how everyone at the Division of Digital Learning is here to support our Knights.

The BlendFlex Model as a Delivery Strategy for Courses with Face-to-Face Components in Fall 2020

We expect that the 2020-2021 academic year will require a significant amount of flexibility on the part of both faculty and students. The BlendFlex delivery model, as described here, is intended to offer the maximum flexibility possible to accommodate a variety of shifting scenarios without compromising UCF’s high academic quality expectations.

Background

  • We must maintain maximum flexibility for instructional delivery.
  • We will need to maintain physical distancing guidelines within physical classrooms (COVID capacity).
  • We may not have enough physical rooms to move all courses to larger spaces.
  • We do not want to reduce enrollment to the new reduced room capacity.
  • We do not want to create an instructional “class system” where some students get an in-person experience and some students only receive a remote experience.
  • In any given class, at any given point in the term, any number of students, or the faculty, may need to be remote for short or long durations.
  • The more complex the context, the simpler the solution needs to be.

How It Works

  • For any typical instructional week, the class would be split into smaller cohorts that meet physical distancing requirements in the assigned space. Students would only be permitted to attend one in-person class meeting per week. For example, in a class that typically has 100 students enrolled, 33 students would physically meet on Monday, 33 would meet on Wednesday, and 34 students would meet on Friday. See the illustration below.
  • When not in a physical class, students would “attend” the balance of the weekly instruction remotely either synchronously (live) or asynchronously (through a recorded session).
  • For very large sections or those with a twice-per-week meeting schedule, students may need to be split into additional cohorts and limited to a once-per-every-other-week in-person meeting schedule (or other arrangements) in order to comply with physical distancing guidelines (similar to the CBA RA/REAL model).
  • Students cannot choose which day to attend in person—their only option is their assigned cohort day. Should students choose to not attend on their assigned day, that is their prerogative within faculty attendance requirements.
  • Faculty could utilize the same syllabi and lesson planning (each cohort is a sub-part of the actual course section). Faculty will need to take care not to inadvertently disadvantage remote students by ensuring that each cohort has equally meaningful face-to-face experiences throughout the term.
  • A real-time video feed and/or a recording of each class session will be available to those students not in the classroom on a given day. Faculty will need to record their sessions or work with the Office of Instructional Resources to set up Panopto’s classroom-based auto-recording capability.
Monday

Lecture 1

Cohort A
(Cohorts B & C remote)

Monday
Wednesday

Lecture 2

Cohort B
(Cohorts C & A remote)

Wednesday
Friday

Lecture 3

Cohort C
(Cohorts A & B remote)

Friday

Typical BlendFlex Delivery Model for a Week of Instruction

Advantages

  • Faculty largely do not have to significantly modify planned pedagogy—only minor adjustments to classroom practice will be necessary.
  • Most classrooms are already equipped with basic technology.
  • Most personal equipment (e.g., laptops) can be configured to work.
  • If faculty or students are unable to be on campus, the class can be easily moved to a fully remote experience.
  • In previous “HyFlex” implementations, increasing numbers of students tend to attend remotely, except where attendance is required by the faculty. This might actually be a positive in an environment where we are trying to encourage physical distancing.
  • Online active learning activities are suggested for those courses in which physical distancing guidelines cannot be maintained for face-to-face activities (headphones will be required for online active learning that occurs within a physical classroom environment).

Limitations

  • Lab sections and other courses (e.g. performance-based) may not work in this model due to their core face-to-face, physical requirements.
  • Class content that requires in-person activities might benefit some students over others (e.g., in any given week, one particular group of students might benefit from an in-class activity while the rest must make do with a remote experience).
  • Due to space constraints, large CBA RA (REAL) courses might limit student in-person experiences to only once or twice for the entire term. Those might be better-served being designed as fully remote.
  • Faculty are expected to teach face-to-face in this model. If the faculty plan to be remote due to being high-risk or other factors, they should convert the section to fully remote.
  • If a deaf or hard of hearing student registered with Student Accessibility Services is enrolled in the course, a workable captioning plan for that student will need to be devised.
  • Additional costs for equipment and support.

Implementation Needs

  • Faculty professional development will include:
    • When to use Zoom (course is mostly class discussion) vs. when to use Panopto (course is very large or is mostly lecture).
    • How to set up and record in a classroom and on the computer.
    • Must use the classroom document camera or Zoom whiteboard—cannot use classroom whiteboards.
    • Assignments and exams should be able to be submitted/completed online.
    • Suggest asynchronous online discussions whenever possible rather than synchronous discussions that involve in-person and remote students.
  • Additional equipment is being purchased and installed in some spaces.

BlendFlex Faculty Training

The Center for Distributed Learning and the Office of Instructional Resources have created an online, self-paced course that should take around an hour to complete. This course will give you an overview of how this model will be used at UCF, address questions you may have about its implementation, and identify considerations in teaching practices. It also contains a helpful guide of tools, technologies, and strategies for applying this model in your course.

ENROLL NOW

Zoom Essentials

We encourage you to enroll in the online self-paced Zoom Essentials course which describes the basic and advanced functions of Zoom and how it can be used within Webcourses@UCF. The time commitment for completing Zoom Essentials is estimated to be between 2-4 hours.

Panopto Essentials

If you choose to use Panopto in your class and haven’t used it in the past, you will be required to either take the self-paced online Panopto Essentials course (estimated to be 2-4 hours to complete).

New Tech in the Classroom

The Office of Instructional Resources has installed web cameras, microphones, and/or adjusted technology in classrooms across many UCF campuses to assist faculty in implementing the BlendFlex model for Fall 2020. If you have any questions about your specific classroom, reach out to the Office of Instructional Resources for more information.