Laptop and books

About HyFlex Courses

SUNY, the State University of New York, has announced its current working definition of HyFlex courses:

Combines online and face-to-face instruction simultaneously into one single course section, with the mode of direct instruction determined by each individual student. Students are able to choose how to participate in any given class meeting – online or face-to-face.” (1)

Here at Genesee Community College, we use this definition:

Students may choose, on a day-by-day basis, to participate in-person or online or through a combination of online and in-person.  Students may also complete all or part of the in-person component of the course using “zoom” or similar technology from any location. This option offers the student the most flexibility. ” (2)

Both adequate definitions, however, since they are written from the student perspective, neither one clarifies the instructor’s responsibilities in a HyFlex course.


The most misleading part of HyFlex for instructors is the idea that all they have to do is record their live course sessions, upload them to the Learning Management System, tell the online asynchronous students to watch the videos, and call it a day. The truth is, HyFlex courses must have fully built-out online, asynchronous modules so that students who never set foot on campus have an equivalent learning experience and meet all the Course Learning Outcomes. This means that, prior to the start of a HyFlex course, the online portion of the course must be completely set up and reviewed for design quality and accessibility. As with every online course, this must be built via backwards design, meaning the content is created after the learning outcomes are established and all course activities and assessments must align with the learning outcomes.

Another surprise to some instructors is the idea that distant students will participate in the course virtually, in real time, via web conferencing. This means the instructor must consciously pay attention to the monitors in the classroom, as well as the backchannel, to include remote participants in conversations and activities. This will be easy for some, but a learning curve for others; hopefully the instructor will have someone in the room to assist them with the technology.

We’ve been creating a HyFlex Course Development Guide to assist faculty in their development process; the GCC HyFlex Team will be posting resources online soon and is happy to answer questions: 


  • (1) via SUNY Workplace DOODLE Group
  • (2) GCC HyFlex Course Development Guide
  • Image from Pixabay