78 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
students who attend online. Although only impressionistic, we do feel that
all students have benefitted from a sense of being together in the HyFlex
classroom, not just the students who can attend in person.
3. Flexibility and adaptability are huge assets when teaching and
learning during the uncertainty of a pandemic.
The HyFlex model creates the option for students and instructors to attend
in person or online and to switch between the physical and virtual classrooms
over the course of the year as personal circumstances change or as
the public health directives become more or less restrictive. Recording
classes adds an additional element of needed flexibility for some students,
although we have encouraged students to attend the live classes whenever
4. Responding to the needs of differently positioned students takes
thought, care and time.
The pandemic has created much uncertainty, but there seems little doubt that
one of its effects has been to highlight and exacerbate existing inequalities. We
were very concerned not to be compounding this effect by offering an in-
person option that we knew not every student could take up. As a result, building
a system that enabled online students to participate fully in the classroom
was crucial. However, creating an in-person option was also part of an effort
to respond to the needs of students who do not have good study spaces at
home or for whom in-person interaction is integral to learning.
Zoom fatigue is a familiar phenomenon and is felt more strongly by some
than others. Regular breaks and a diversity of teaching methods in every
class seem essential. Recording classes helps to ensure that students who
face disruptions do not miss out on class content.
5. The students are in this together with us.
The students have been remarkably understanding when we have fumbled
with unfamiliar technology or experimented with our teaching. Moreover,
we have been frequently delighted to hear of the back channels that students
create to help us and, more importantly, each other. For the first few
classes, while we were waiting on better microphones for the classrooms,
the students in the classroom rotated as scribes to put up student questions
and comments on the chat board to ensure their online classmates got more
than just our summary of the question. When technical glitches arise (such
as a power cut that hit parts of Vancouver one minute before class, causing
half the online students to disappear from Zoom), in-class students take the
initiative to communicate updates to their classmates. It is clear to us that
the students are helping to make this work and that without their help, it
would not be working as well as it is.