This is an archive of the ACE Workshop website. While all of the original content is available, some features (like forms) may no longer work and there may be broken links (indicated with a strike-through). 


The ACE 

A guide for decision-making and professional development planning during times of crisis.

Four Models for HiFlex Course Design

When we talk about HiFlex Course Design, we are generally talking about offering a course in multiple modalities, usually for students who are physically present in the classroom and simultaneously for those who are remote/online. Development of these courses can, understandably, feel overwhelming for faculty; in fact, it can feel like every course has to be designed twice, and on any given day, faculty may have to switch modalities for specific students, depending upon whether they can be physically present. 

Below, we’ve attempted to outline an alternative approach to designing HiFlex courses. Baked into our models are the following principles. 

  • Overall, the practice is summarized as “Design once, for online, and use any other time, space, or opportunities to flexibly interact with and augment the online course approach.”
  • Every model incorporates intentional planning and design for the best use of online and f2f opportunities. 
  • During Fall 2020 as COVID19 concerns continue on our campuses, the determining factor about when students attend f2f may be dictated by room sizes and administrative policies; the models attempt to work within potential complications of realities and policies.
  • One of the strong advantages to this approach is that if campuses find themselves having to shut down early again, by focusing on a strong online course presence (built into each model), you will already be prepared for a second pivot. 
  • Finally, these are NOT meant to be comprehensive. Instead, imagine these models along a continuum of opportunity. Your challenge is to determine where your courses could fit between and among the proposals.  

We’ve summarized the four models in an infographic which you can download as a PNG or PDF

Model One: Online Course with Small Group Teaching
Model Two: Online Course with Small Group Meetings
Model Three: Online Course with Small Lab/Hands On Work
Model Four: The Flexible Learning Community

ACE Baked In

At face value, these models clearly intersect with the ACE HiFlex Course Design practice, but it’s important to consider how all of the ACE values can infuse your design approach: 

  • Adaptability: consider both HiFlex and Module Course Scheduling as tools for building your own course course model. When possible, infuse them with student choice and flexibility.
  • Connection: Each of these models asks you to think deliberately about what spaces, tools, and technologies you can use to create community within your course, across online and f2f  interactions. 
  • Equity: As we prepare for Fall 2020, remember our goal to teach and reach students, regardless of barriers. Your intentional design of an online course with f2f inflections is a way to offer students the kind of access they require during complicated and complex times. 

About the Workbook

The Workbook is an online space for you to record your reflections and assignments for the Workshop.

Participants at PSU will be using an Office 365 Word Document (available via the “Files” section of the “General” channel in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to work on their Workbook.

About the Discussion Forum

The Discussion Forum is an online space where all the members of the Workshop can share ideas and reflections and build community

Participants at PSU will be using the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their Discussion Forum.

About the VidSpace

The VidSpace is an online space for synchronous video meetings among participants (that can also be recorded and shared for asynchronous access).

Participants at PSU will be using Zoom (available via the Zoom tab in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their VidSpace. 

About the ACE “Institutional Level”

The ACE Framework is primarily designed for faculty who are readjusting their curriculum during times of regional, national, or global crisis. But in order for the work that faculty do with their assignments and courses to be most effective, it should be aligned with the institutional mission, which should guide policy and structural planning related to curriculum and teaching.

The institutional level of the framework is a reminder to faculty that if their adjustments at the assignment- or course-level are difficult to operationalize successfully, it could be due to larger policies and structures that are mis-aligned with the ACE Framework; advocacy may be warranted to bring the institution into alignment.

The institutional level of the framework is also a call to university policy-making committees, administrators, Boards of Trustees, and legislators that there is much work to be done to prepare university policies and structures to support students and faculty who are learning and teaching through challenging times.