Module Five

Case Studies

Module Overview: Within this module, case studies focusing on HyFlex Teaching and Learning are reviewed.

  • Explore Case Studies
  • Build Your Course

Be sure to reflect on the case studies carefully, and feel free to share and discuss these with other faculty teaching HyFlex courses.

Case #1

Professor A is an instructor teaching a graduate education course at CUNY. She has decided to teach her course in a HyFlex mode of instruction for the following reasons:  

  • She strongly believes in student choice in education/instruction.  
  • Her students are working teachers, with work, family, and personal responsibilities.  
  • Her students are experienced in online learning and teaching and are comfortable accessing a course in various modalities. 

To prepare her students, the professor set up many activities/structures before the start of class.

  • First, she wrote a letter to all her students, introducing herself, the class, and what is meant by the term HyFlex.
  • Second, she modified her syllabus to match the HyFlex mode of instruction.
  • Third, she invited all students to come in person during the first class, so they could experience the in-person HyFlex experience. For all other classes, students had the choice of which modality to participate in the class (asynchronous, synchronous, or in-person).
  • Finally, all students, in the first class, took a HyFlex learning preference assessment, to see what modality might work best for them. They discussed this self-assessment in class.    

At the beginning of a given week, the professor would post a video lecture and all course materials within the class learning management system. For asynchronous students, she posted questions and activities that would be discussed/completed within the in-person and/or synchronous environments. All students had access to the same materials, lectures, activities, and discussion questions in all modalities.

Overall, they had a positive experience with HyFlex, except for some minor technology glitches that occurred for the students who participated in the class in a synchronous way. Her students asked for more HyFlex class opportunities moving forward.  


Reflection: What elements worked within this HyFlex class? What are your thoughts about the instructor having all students come in-person for the first class? If you were to create a HyFlex “self-assessment” for your students, what would that look like? What elements might it contain? 

Case #2

Professor Sparks is a humanities professor who teaches large lecture classes to undergraduates. He was excited about the prospect of teaching a HyFlex class, as his online, large lecture asynchronous class worked well during the pandemic. He attended a college wide HyFlex training seminar and took advantage of all the materials available. They were very helpful in preparing his first HyFlex class.   

  • To prepare for the class, he wrote a welcome letter to his students, introducing himself, the class, and the HyFlex modality.
  • He modified his syllabus to match the HyFlex mode of instruction and decided to teach in all 3 modalities: asynchronous, synchronous, and in-person.
  • He had most of his asynchronous lectures, videos, and materials prepared – so the prospect of teaching the class in all three modalities did not feel daunting.
  • He felt well equipped, trained, and enthusiastic about this new form of classroom instruction.  

However, when he got to his classroom, he realized that he would only have a few minutes before class to set up for the HyFlex modality, as the lecture hall was used by another professor before his class who was not teaching in HyFlex mode. Numerous times during class, the technology failed or worked inconsistently, leading to interrupted instruction for his synchronous students. Technology support was also inconsistent.   

Because of this, as the semester went on, students decided to choose the asynchronous modality as a default. The professor only had a handful of in-class students, and because of the technology challenges during class, synchronous attendance declined.

For the next iteration of the course, the professor decided to only use an asynchronous and in-person HyFlex option, to better meet his student’s needs.   

Reflection: What elements worked within this HyFlex class? What could have been changed and/or further supported so that the instructor and students could feel successful? How can instructors continue to support students when HyFlex technology is inconsistent?   

Case #3

Professor Smith is an adjunct instructor teaching within a HyFlex clinical counseling program. He likes the HyFlex modality because of the flexibility it gives students. He also likes the HyFlex modality because it offers the opportunity for students outside New York City to actively engage in the program he teaches in – allowing for a diversity of clinical perspectives.   

Students in Professor Smith’s class can choose to attend class in 3 modalities: in person, synchronously, or asynchronously. However, all students in class tend to choose the synchronous or asynchronous online option, except for the rare day when one or two students choose to attend class in-person. This means that Professor Smith makes the commute to class each week, but logs on synchronously from the classroom to give his lecture/engage his class in activities.

Although Professor Smith is fine with this format, he is reflective about the fact that his students only choose to learn asynchronously or synchronously. He doesn’t mind making the commute to class, but he also feels that the commuting time is wasted when no one shows up to class in-person. He wants his students to have free choice (and an in-person option), but realistically knows that the students who attend class asynchronously and synchronously are satisfied with their choice and are progressing well in terms of content and instruction.  


Reflection: Regarding planning, does it make sense to plan for all three HyFlex modalities if students are only attending in two modes? What are the benefits and challenges of this? Should Professor Smith do more to encourage students to participate in-person, or should he continue the free choice option?