The Mount Saint Mary College Hybrid Flexible program
What is the Mount’s Hy-Flex Program?
The Mount’s Hybrid Flexible (Mount Hy-Flex) program gives professors a large range of options for teaching their courses in the Fall 2020 semester while still maintaining the supportive college experience that students want. It combines face-to-face learning with online/virtual delivery.
Traditionally, most courses at Mount Saint Mary College are held on campus, with students and professors in the same classroom. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic has made it necessary to provide more teaching options for increased social distancing and to accommodate the needs of our students.
This semester, professors will utilize many methods of instruction, from in-person to fully online/virtual – and everything in between. Most courses will blend online and in-person elements, creating a hybrid learning experience. Some online teaching will be synchronous (lectures taking place on set days and times, just like a normal class but online) and some will be asynchronous (available to students to complete on their own before the next class).
Traditional and Flexible Instruction
The following instructional modes fulfill the on-campus status requirements for Veterans receiving benefits for Fall 2020.
- Traditional Classroom: Students will see on their schedules a building (AQU, GUZ, HUD, KAP) and room number. A traditional classroom experience in which students are physically located in a common classroom space. Courses are conducted inperson on specific day(s) and time(s). At the Mount, this means all students are in a physical classroom that has been set up to accommodate social distancing guidelines. The course would still include enhancements with materials and assignments on eClass (Moodle), the college’s learning management system, in order to be prepared for any emergency circumstances.
- HybridFlexible Classroom: Like above, students will see on their schedules a building (AQU, GUZ, HUD, KAP) and room number. HybridFlexible (Hy-Flex) courses require both face-to-face and virtual (synchronous or asynchronous) learning. This might mean only a few face-to-face sessions are required, or the course may require weekly on-campus meetings. Likewise, Hy-Flex courses may only include a few online requirements, or most activities may occur online. The balance is set by the instructor through the Syllabus and Course Calendar, but students can expect to both visit the physical campus and learn virtually. Online activities, assignments, and resources are offered through eClass (Moodle), the college’s learning management system and/or virtually through Zoom.
- Virtual Classroom: Students will not see a building or room number on their schedules, but rather “Virtual Classroom” with the room assignment “eClass/Zoom.” Courses are conducted virtually on specific day(s) and time(s) synchronously, with no physical class requirements. At the Mount, this means all faculty and students will participate virtually in the course at the same time per the schedule. All students are required to participate in class activities at the scheduled time. You will know your class is virtual because there will be a specific day and time listed on your class schedule. Some physical oncampus exams, as well as labs and clinicals, may be required per the instructor. The course will be enhanced with activities, assignments, and materials on eClass (Moodle), the college’s learning management system.
- Asynchronous Online Instruction (“OL”): Online courses that do not occur at a specific day and time. At the Mount, this means students are able to participate in and complete their coursework completely online with no set meeting times. Faculty provide recorded lectures, readings, and/or videos for review. Students will be asked to participate regularly in discussion boards, writing projects and/or online group work with their classmates according to the Syllabus and Course Calendar. The course will be offered through eClass (Moodle), the college’s learning management system.
Examples of Hy-Flex Courses
Here are some examples of the kinds of course delivery that students can expect in the Fall 2020 semester.
COURSE EXAMPLE 1: Online/virtual lectures with in-class labs
All students join class online at the scheduled time for lectures. For labs, students come to campus to access lab facilities at scheduled times while maximizing social distancing.
COURSE EXAMPLE 2: Online/virtual lectures with two in-class cohorts
All students engage with lectures online. The class is divided into two groups (cohorts) for maximum social distancing. Each cohort is assigned a separate day to attend class in person.
COURSE EXAMPLE 3: Fully online
Class is delivered completely online with a mixture of on-demand multimedia, interactive projects, and synchronous (everyone at the same time) meetings.
The Benefits of Online/Virtual Learning at the Mount
Flexibility and Self-Paced Learning
When taking online/virtual courses, students can participate in group projects, written assignments, and discussions when it is convenient for them. This flexibility allows students to more easily balance school work, life, and family responsibilities.
Did you miss something the professor said? No problem – just scroll back. When course activities are offered online, students can revisit past material or stop/pause the lecture to perform additional research or organize their notes. Students can move through the coursework at their own speed and get the most out of their college experience.
Virtual Communication and Collaboration
Students can participate in discussion forums with their classmates, communicate with professors via email and chat, and collaborate through Zoom and other virtual platforms. Participating in discussion forums is a lot like participating in a virtual team – there’s plenty of room for students to develop collaboration and communication skills. Students are able to explore and share ideas not only in the physical classroom through discussion, but also through writing, audio, video, and other multimedia.
Broader Creative Perspective
Class discussions feature a broad range of perspectives, helping students to enhance their own cross-cultural understanding. Being exposed to new and different ideas sparks creativity, which is of enduring value for life beyond college.
Critical thinking plays a role in any type of education, as it is an essential skill for daily life. However, by learning in comfortable environments with less distractions, virtual/online activities encourage students to develop critical thinking skills in ways that they might not have practiced in an in-person classroom setting. The medium allows for creative solutions to traditional academic activities, as well as innovative problem solving opportunities.
New Technical Skills
As part of their coursework, students will utilize digital learning materials and become familiar with new tools and software. Embracing these technologies and learning new tools will help students build skills they can use in their future careers.
This section was adapted, in part, from information found here.