Ideas and Resources for Teaching in the SMUFlex Model

Definition of SMUFlex

Introduced in 2006 at San Francisco State University (SFSU), HyFlex is a specific type of hybrid course delivery model. Students unable to attend the physical classroom participate in the course in real-time via the Internet, while content, activities, and assessments are delivered to all students (i.e., in-person and remote) via the institution’s Learning Management System (LMS). Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, we will adopt this model for SMU under the name ‘SMUFlex.’ 



SMUFlex courses are conducted in real-time with some students attending in-person and others participating remotely via Zoom. This allows students and faculty to adapt to changing situations and accommodate short-term absences from the in-person experience. SMUFlex also allows remote students to engage in meaningful ways with their coursework through SMU’s Canvas LMS. SMU classrooms are outfitted with hardware and software that allows for teleconferencing via Zoom. When needed, recorded lectures will be available to students via Canvas. 


SMUFlex courses follow the standard meeting schedule for in-person courses. At some institutions, SMUFlex students can change how they attend the course based upon personal preference. At SMU, students cannot self-select meeting-to-meeting whether they attend in-person or via Zoom. SMU pre-assigns the method they use meeting-to-meeting.


How Instruction Will Look Different in SMUFlex

The SMUFlex Model presents a need for many faculty to adjust the way they teach in a traditional in-person classroom. Below you will find a summary of how engagement and instruction will likely have to be adjusted: 

Instruction Delivery: Simultaneous delivery of course content and activities to in-person attendees and simulcast through video over zoom to online attendees.

Engagement: Should be simultaneous to all students, meaning that faculty should interact and engage with both in-person and online group at the same time.

Potential Teaching Adjustments: Faculty will need to prepare to focus on the online group as much as the in-person group in order to provide an equitable classroom experience. Faculty should think about classroom management, and communicate the plan to all student groups. This requires constantly managing the online class space while managing the F2F class space. It is recommended that all students, including in-person students, bring their own devices and are logged into Zoom/video conferencing system to maximize engagement between the two groups. Both student groups should also be directed to use headphones in Zoom/video conferencing.

Considerations: Many may find it difficult to manage in-person and online space simultaneously. Other difficulties might include providing interactive components and engagement engagement opportunities for the online group, and ensuring that the audio/visual components for online group are acceptable for a satisfactory learning experience. Below you can find suggestions for alleviating some of the potential challenges of this model and creating a success learning environment for all students. 

Considerations for Teaching in SMUFlex:

Since teaching this fall will require a new adaptive approach, we hope that the following resources will be helpful to the SMU teaching community as they look ahead to the start of classes. If we approach the Fall semester with creativity, determination and collaboration, we will model to students that we can make the most of a challenging situation.

In the following pages we outline ideas and resources for:

Additional Resources for SMUFlex Model: