HyFlex classes installed but not offered next academic year

By Juan Calvillo

There are currently 162 HyFlex classrooms on campus, but no HyFlex classes are currently being offered at any Los Angeles Community College District campus. 

In response to an email from James McKeever, American Federation of Teachers 1521 Faculty Guild President, the LACCD said, “The District will not be offering HyFlex courses in the 2022-2023 academic year.” This is a response from August.

HyFlex classrooms are both in-person and remote-type classrooms.

 HyFlex classes give students the ability to join online or in-person when they can. 

The District Academic Senate resolved that a HyFlex classroom, “is a dual delivery instructional modality that combines face-to-face and online learning, where class sessions and activities are offered in person and online where students have the flexibility of choosing modalities in the same course during the same term.” 

McKeever said when discussions started on HyFlex classrooms there was a sense that it was done quickly and not much was thought out to how these classrooms are run. 

He said currently, talks between the Union and the District are on hold. He said talks would resume in the spring semester. 

The AFT asked for certain demands to be met when it comes to HyFlex classroom teaching. McKeever said these were things that the district may have not thought about when it came to implementing HyFlex classes. 

One of the things McKeever said was important was having equipment that could be quickly serviced if issues arose during a class.

“If I have students who are face-to-face and online, and now the online portion isn’t working and those students can’t attend face-to-face, does that mean I now have to cancel my face-to-face class as well?’ McKeever said.

The DAS had a resolution passed in October that agreed with what the AFT union asked for in terms of HyFlex classrooms.

“The DAS urges administration to ensure reliable on-campus technology infrastructure and timely support to sustain high-quality instruction that advances student success and enrollment,” the DAS resolution said.

McKeever said things like that hadn’t been thought out. 

Takeshi Fujii, regional manager College Technological Services, said the IT staff at ELAC are knowledgeable when it comes to use of HyFlex classrooms. He said there are IT members on staff for different periods during the day for any issues. 

“At ELAC we have both A Shift, morning, and B Shift, evening, IT support.

 “So we have coverage to answer any technical questions relating [to] Hyflex classrooms,” Fujii said.

Having technological support and maintenance, as well as having the best situation for students to achieve their goals, were part of the union’s demands. 

The union also asked for adequate compensation for teaching HyFlex classes in HyFlex classrooms.

“What does compensation look like for a course that’s going to take more work on the part of the faculty to do? It’s not the same as teaching online, and it’s not the same as teaching face-to-face. It’s both,” McKeever said.

McKeever said compensation isn’t the most important part of the negotiations that will come in the spring. 

He said the concern that faculty who are not properly compensated will look into taking additional classes to teach. HyFlex students may not get the best version of a class simply because a faculty member is overworked.

Jeffery Hernandez, East Los Angeles College Academic Senate President, said of running a class using a HyFlex classroom, “It’s like learning how to ride two bicycles at the same time.”

He said learning to run this type of classroom takes additional effort. Hernandez said there has been a considerable investment in HyFlex classrooms at ELAC and it would only make sense for the district to figure things out with the AFT to provide access to HyFlex classes. 

He said he was shocked at the response the district had to the AFT’s demands when it came to HyFlex classroom faculty use. 

Hernandez said there is a burden when it comes to HyFlex classrooms and classes. 

He said the DAS agreed on asking for instruction and training for the use of HyFlex classrooms.

Hernandez said he volunteered to teach a HyFlex type course because of the idea of maximum flexibility. He said offering all the options possible was important, especially when other institutions offered a variety of ways to learn.

“I view it as an equity issue. Students shouldn’t be denied,” Hernandez said.

The purpose of HyFlex classrooms is immersion. Savio Pinto, Deputy Chief Information Officer College Technology Services, said that for faculty it can be difficult to teach in a HyFlex classroom due to the differences between the in-person and online students. 

He said the classrooms have confidence monitors that show exactly what online students are on their end. Next to these monitors are high end cameras that have a “follow me” capability. Fujii said the technology allows faculty to interact with students.

Juliet Hidalgo, interim director of Communications and External Relations, said that when it comes to the eventual use of HyFlex classrooms, “At this time discussions are ongoing with unions regarding this possibility and no decisions have been made.”

Fujii said the total number of HyFlex classrooms at ELAC will be 200.

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