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Using the SWIVL for Effective HyFlex Instruction: Best Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Program Support Initiatives

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Ronald W. Welch The Citadel

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Ron Welch (P.E.) received his B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1990 and 1999, respectively. He became the Dean of Engineering at The Citadel on 1 July 2011. Prior to his current position, he was the Department Head of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler from Jan 2007 to June 2011 as well as served in the Corps of Engineers for over 24 years including eleven years on the faculty at the United States Military Academy.

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Robert J. Rabb P.E. The Citadel

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Robert Rabb is a professor and the Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at The Citadel. He previously taught mechanical engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and his M.S.E. and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching interests are in mechatronics, regenerative power, and multidisciplinary engineering.

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Alyson Grace Eggleston The Citadel

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Alyson G. Eggleston is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Fine Arts, and Communications at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where she teaches STEM-focused technical writing and communication, writing-intensive courses for international students, and linguistics. She received her PhD from Purdue University in Linguistics, and she has a BA and MA in English with concentrations in TESOL and writing pedagogy from Youngstown State University. Her research and teaching interests are in technical and scientific writing pedagogy and the interaction of language and cognition. She is a member of Sigma Xi and ASEE.

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Classroom technology and increased student comfort with video instruction through streaming services such as YouTube have created opportunities for enhanced learning in both face-to-face and remote contexts. Working professionals encounter travel and distance-related obstacles that limit access to universities. However, digital technology and distance learning practices lower barriers to education by allowing those who were physically or financially limited to participate. This transition is not automatic—not all degree programs are available online, and some convert more easily to online modalities than others. This paper reports on selected effective approaches for responding to the unplanned pivot from in-person learning to a hybrid/Hyflex learning delivery mode, in the context of a largely residential institution. Our institution’s immediate response to Covid-19 at The Citadel was to move all instruction online. Many universities found this approach to be sub-optimal. Recently, some schools, including The Citadel, opted for a Hyflex (Hybrid-Flexible) teaching model for the Fall 2020 return. The Hyflex model ensured that some of the students were in the classroom receiving the instruction in the traditional face-to-face mode (wearing masks and socially distanced), while others livestreamed the lesson and could participate in the lecture through Zoom, depending on their accommodation needs. Unlike purely face-to-face traditional teaching or fully online education, the Hyflex method uses both traditional lecture methods and electronic media to communicate course content to those unable to attend in person. Lecture capture devices are crucial to supporting Hyflex models of instruction. While The Citadel had built out lecture capture classrooms in previous years, scaling these capabilities up under limited time constraints during the rapid shift to online learning was cost-prohibitive. While some universities opted to keep faculty remote, The Citadel reached for a solution that would accommodate all faculty and student needs. Balancing time constraints and existing facility capacity, The Citadel researched and chose to employ the system known as the Swivl (Apple), a robotic lecture capture device that tracks the presenter and facilitates livestreamed interactions with students online. At The Citadel, lessons could also be recorded and posted to the Learning Management Systems (LMS) for students in quarantine or those experiencing poor internet reception during class times. This paper examines some of the best practices and challenges of using the Swivl system for Hyflex delivery of instruction in engineering courses and the success for faculty and students using this technology. Video recordings and delivery mode are tools in the instructional toolbox, just like lectures. Faculty members who are not experts in remote/online instruction may require periodic developmental training to ensure course quality. Instructors need and want to create a course in the preferred mode of face-to-face delivery but know that the current chaos will require all stakeholders to adapt to fully remote learning (synchronous or asynchronous) when required (pandemic or extreme weather event, etc.).

Welch, R. W., & Rabb, R. J., & Eggleston, A. G. (2021, July), Using the SWIVL for Effective HyFlex Instruction: Best Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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