Flexible Instruction Modalities

Who is this resource for?

BGSU Faculty who would like to provide flexible learning options for students who may be ill or not able to attend class.

What are the objectives?

After reviewing this guide, you will be able to...

  • Identify strategies to help you facilitate flexible strategies for in-person instruction given a variety of scenarios. 
  • Determine the type of technology necessary for facilitating flexible strategies for in-person instruction. 

Overview

The ability to flexibly blend in-person and online instruction using a variety of strategies is helpful for students and faculty. This guide will specifically focus on developing flexible, online options for course delivery if attending class in person is not an option. Using flexible strategies for in-person instruction can range from allowing students to join a synchronous class session remotely via Zoom or allowing students to engage with content and assignments asynchronously for a portion of the course. Flexible strategies can also enable instructors to facilitate a virtual class session for all students during one class period and meet face-to-face with students in smaller groups during the rest of the week.

Please keep in mind that instructors are not required to provide students with a synchronous virtual option to participate in-class. Furthermore, instructors should work collaboratively with chairs/directors and deans to enact short-term changes to the modality of courses should a significant fraction of students in a particular class need to isolate or quarantine. 

If you do not plan to offer synchronous virtual options to participate during class, consider offering asynchronous access to course content, assessments, and course participation. 

Preparing for Implementing Flexible Strategies for In-Person Instruction

  • Utilize your Canvas course site to curate content such as readings, lectures, and other resources. Using Canvas to house course content helps make it accessible to students who may not be able to make it to class. 
  • Note: this is possible even if your course is in progress—simply make sure to communicate with students and guide them through any updates or changes. 
  • Ensure your Canvas course has a consistent navigation structure so that students aren’t confused about where to find materials. For example, make sure students can find course materials, assessments, and links to Zoom for attending classes remotely.
  • Use Zoom inside of Canvas to schedule class meetings and communicate with students how to find the Zoom links. 
  • Clearly define and communicate the modality of each element in your course. 
  • Clearly communicate any changes or updates about your course with students in a timely fashion. There are a number of communication options available in Canvas
  • Offer asynchronous options for student engagement if they are not able to join class remotely. 

Facilitating an Engaging Class

  • Prepare asynchronous options in case activities do not go as planned.
  • Record your class session. 
  • If you choose to offer a synchronous virtual class participation option for students, have a plan for distributing your attention during class. 
  • Ask for student feedback during class. 

Create lectures that engage in-person and remote students using Zoom features and other collaboration tools. Interactive lectures take some advanced planning, but most strategies require fewer technological logistics than other forms of engagement. Below you will find strategies to try (listed in order from least complex to more complex):

  • Ask students to post Zoom reactions to check student understanding or ask for non-verbal feedback (I.e., thumbs-up or down).
  • Pause to launch Zoom polls to check student understanding or help them to reflect
  • Encourage students to utilize the chat feature in Zoom or Canvas Chat (Chat must be enabled in the Navigation links). Using a chat allows all students to participate without speaking. 
  • Since you will be teaching, it may be helpful to ask a student to monitor the chat and surface interesting insights or questions. 
  • If you choose to use the Zoom chat, encourage all students to join the Zoom meeting with muted audio and video.
  • Please keep in mind that students who join late may not see previous messages in Zoom chat. 
  • Ask students to write a Minute Paper at some point during your lecture (beginning, middle, or end depending on your goal). Responses can be recorded in a number of ways such as a discussion in Canvas, an open-ended poll using Poll Everywhere, a collaborative document or slide deck using OneDrive (Word and/or PowerPoint). 

Planning for and facilitating collaborative activities for classes in which students are both in-person and remote can be a bit more time-consuming and require additional technological and logistical considerations. However, collaboration is still possible! Below you will find strategies to try (listed in order from least complex to more complex):

  • Prepare a collaborative notes document using OneDrive or by creating a Collaborative document in Canvas and ask students to add to the document during class. This can be done as a whole class, or you can create multiple documents for small groups or pair notetaking. 
  • Pose a question or topic for discussion and ask students to engage in peer-learning. For this activity, you will need to ask in-person students to pair with an online synchronous student. Send designated pairs of online synchronous and in-person students to Zoom break-out rooms while in-person pairs discuss.
  • Please keep in mind that in-person students who are paired with an online synchronous student will need a computer and headphones for this activity. It may be helpful to ask all students to bring headphones to class if you are not able to pre-assign in-person and online synchronous student pairs
  • Facilitate a think-pair-share activity. For this activity, you will need to ask in-person students to pair with an online synchronous student. First, pose a scenario or topic to students to consider individually. Second, send designated pairs of online synchronous and in-person students to Zoom break-out rooms. All pairs will then discuss the scenario/topic. Finally, bring any students in break-out rooms back to the main room and ask for volunteers to share their discussions with the larger group. 
  • Please keep in mind that in-person students who are paired with an online synchronous student will need a computer and headphones for this activity. It may be helpful to ask all students to bring headphones to class if you are not able to pre-assign in-person and online synchronous student pairs. 

Additional Resources

Questions?

Visit the Center for Faculty Excellence Find a Workshop page to register for a variety of workshops. You may also schedule an individual consultation with a CFE Instructional Designer. For questions, contact the CFE at cfe@bgsu.edu

References

Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service. (2022, January 18). HyFlex pedagogy. Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service. 

Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning. (2022, January 18). Active learning for your online classroom: five strategies using Zoom. Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning.

Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning. (2022, January 18). Community building in the classroom. Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning. 

Updated: 01/24/2022 10:44AM