LLC introduces HyFlex technologies to the classroom


Joshua Fulk Civil Engineering Technology Instructor

Shayla Taylor, Reporter and Business Manager

Lake Land College is currently in the process of incorporating a new technology, HyFlex, to a select group of classrooms on campus in an effort to improve overall access to technology for students. In a trend analysis summary put together by the college, it stated that the state of Illinois has halved their higher education funding since fiscal year 2002. This has made it quite difficult for schools to keep up with all the technological changes that have happened since then. 

HyFlex, a term that combines the words “hybrid” and “flexible”, is a technology that makes it possible for in-person and online classes to be one and the same. In a HyFlex classroom, there is a whiteboard-sized display screen with a connected tablet for instructor use, at least two microphones, a couple of cameras with speaker-tracking technology and a few other serviceable tools. At this phase, these devices have been installed in between 20 and 30 classrooms, including the Kluthe, Pana and Marshall centers. 

Faculty will be trained on how to use these technologies. David Stewart, Chief Information Officer, said training is being approached on two fronts.  He explained that the more tech savvy members of staff will be trained by the trainers from the technology vendors. They will then go on to train other members of their departments, with follow-ups from the vendor. There will also be simple tutorial videos that are accessible at all times for when instructors may need them. 

This is obviously a significant modification to the traditional classroom, and there has understandably been a slight resistance from some people. When asked about this, Stewart explained, “This is why we’re doing it in phases; we’re not forcing this onto anyone.” He went on to say that none of the elements of a traditional classroom, such as a blackboard, are lost because the display screen functions as an arguably better version. 

While there has been a dramatic increase in the number of solely online students, the trend analysis summary found that the majority of students prefer completely face-to-face classes to online or hybrid classes. Even if a student takes all in-person classes, in today’s world, it is likely that they will be out for multiple days due to COVID-19 exposure or contraction. With HyFlex, however, they can still fully participate in classes using the conference call feature. This is just one case of the ever-changing relationship between technology and education.

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