Panel Provides Data On Student Perception Of Hyflex Learning Model

Story and photo by Kersten Kruse

Faculty and staff gathered via WebEx on Jan. 29 to discuss student demand for the Hyflex teaching model, despite numerous problems associated with its use.

The event titled “The Impact of the Pandemic on Students’ Academic Lives” was co-hosted by Professor of Sociology Dr. Mary Senter, Director of SAP University Alliance Stephen Tracy and Executive Director of Academic Planning and Analysis Robert Roe.

The goal of the event was to engage Central Michigan University faculty and staff in an educational panel, outlining three sets of survey data gathered in 2020.

Dr. Senter and her Sociology Research Methodologies students distributed a campus-widesurvey at the end of September 2020. They received around 3,0000 completed questionaries.

Their data portrayed a mixed picture of positive opinions and negative experiences, Senter said. She and her students reported a decline in learning via the Hyflex model and a need for more support from peers and faculty.

“What concerns me most as a long term faculty member are the reports of declines in learning, declines in GPA,” Senter said. “It’s clear from the data that students need support.”

Tracy conducted another survey with the help of other faculty members and business honors students. The research project was titled “Impact of COVID-19 on CMU.”

A majority of the students surveyed by Tracy and his research group thought their workload increased as a result of the Hyflex and online learning models.

85 percent of survey participants said Hyflex negatively impacted their learning experience. Only 18 percent of those who participated in the survey thought current teaching methodologies were appropriate and effective compared to 84 percent before the pandemic.

However, a majority of students want Hyflex to be offered in the future.
Nearly 75 percent of students surveyed said they valued the flexibility of the HyFlex model and want it to continue in future semesters for all classes.

Tracy defined flexibility as the students’ ability to decide whether they want to go to class or whether they want to sit at home and take the class.

Robert Roe compared CMU’s survey data to those of other institutions using the National Survey of Student Engagement’s (NSSE) Pulse 2020 survey. A total of 190 institutions participated.

Compared to similar institutions, CMU students were less likely to strongly agree that their internet service was sufficient for online learning, with on-campus residents feeling less confident in their service than those who live off campus. This trend was common among the other institutions surveyed.

Faculty member Roop Jayaraman found the data thought provoking. He noticed better grades among students in his own classes but plans on identifying ways to enhance his use of the Hyflex learning model.

“I need to think about how our students learn best and I need to think about how to get our students to be more efficient learners in this new model,” Jayaraman said. “I am going to focus more on how to best use all the tools/resources that are available.”