We are recommending that faculty employ flexible strategies that will comply with social distancing within rooms, ensure that students still meaningfully participate in a face-to-face experience, cause minimal disruption to faculty preparation and practice, and allow for a rapid pivot to a fully remote delivery should that again become necessary.
A recommended strategy is called BlendFlex. Here is how it would work:
- For any typical instructional week, the class would be split into smaller cohorts that satisfy 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 above.
- When not in a physical class, students would “attend” the balance of the weekly instruction remotely either synchronously (live) or asynchronously (recorded).
- 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 in order to comply with social distancing guidelines (somewhat 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 auto-recording capability.
Additional details can be found here. The Division of Digital Learning is developing specific training for BlendFlex delivery, which is expected to be available in early July (link is forthcoming).
A variation on this strategy is called HyFlex, which does not divide classes into cohorts and puts the decision of whether or not to attend any class meeting in person on the student. This strategy may require faculty to enforce classroom occupancy limits, if too many students decide to attend in person on any particular day.
In all cases, faculty must have a plan for pivoting to 100% remote instruction, if we are again required to do so.