Skip to content

Rising to the Challenge of HyFlex

June 8, 2023

The concept of HyFlex learning in Higher Education is not new. However, the recent disruption to traditional classroom instruction caused by the pandemic reinvigorated discussion around the idea. Simply put it is an instruction model that designs courses which offer students the choice to participate in a class in person or synchronously using video conferencing, or asynchronously online via a learning management system. Thus, providing the greatest flexibility to the student, but without compromising the learning outcomes for every student.

Brian Beatty, who first developed the model in 2006, articulates on page 32 of Hybrid-flexible Courses Design: Implementing Student-directed Hybrid Classes (, 2019) there are 4 values with associated principles for HyFlex design:

  • Learner Choice: Provide meaningful alternative participation modes and enable students to choose between participation modes daily, weekly, or topically.
  • Equivalency: Provide learning activities in all participation modes which lead to equivalent learning outcomes.      
  • Reusability: Utilize artifacts from learning activities in each participation mode as “learning objects’ for all students.                              
  • Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modes.

Dr. Beatty continues his professional engagement and there is a great deal of insight on the HyFlex Learning Community site which grew out of his book.

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) published “7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model.” The National Education Association offers some advice on “Rethinking the Classroom for Hyflex Learning” that defines some key terminology, gives direction on implementation, and describes common pedagogical practices. J.P. Pressley does a good job in an article for EdTech magazine “Explaining the Difference Between HyFlex and Hybrid Teaching Models.”

“Student choice, Universal Design, and flexibility are key pillars of HyFlex’s promise. But less mentioned in the HyFlex conversation are questions about how we design the infrastructure and assemble the stakeholders required to build and support the environment in which we can successfully implement courses designed for HyFlex, with equal success for any modality a student chooses” Tracey Birdwell, Program Director, Mosaic Initiative, Indiana University Bloomington wrote in her piece “Learning Spaces,” 2023 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, Teaching and Learning Edition, 37.

So, what role do librarians have at their institution as it faces this trending multimodal practice? Perhaps we should consider transforming our information literacy programs and start retooling our instructional spaces for the HyFlex modality. Because as this short video “An Introduction to HyFlex” by Dr. Beatty concludes: it is a student-driven hybrid, that “improves access to high quality equitable learning.”

Connect and Communicate Presents I Want It That Way: Student and Faculty Attitudes Toward Ebook Piracy

June 5, 2023

Presented by 

Haley Dittbrenner & Rob Sieczkiewicz

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm

Registration Link

Do you know how common digital piracy is on your campus? Are you curious about why students use pirate sites to download eBooks, and what their instructors think about this? In this interactive conversation, we will discuss the findings of our survey of Susquehanna University students and faculty, and explore attendees’ attitudes toward and experience with shadow libraries. Finally, we will conclude with a conversation about how these findings about the use of pirate sites might be used to inform library Open Educational Resources (OER) programs.

Haley Dittbrenner is a junior student at Susquehanna University. She studies creative and professional writing as well as publishing and editing. She currently works as a student manager at the Blough-Weis Library. She wants to make a career out of open access and publishing librarianship. Rob Sieczkiewicz is Associate Professor and Director of the Blough-Weis Library at Susquehanna University. Previously he was a digital scholarship and instruction librarian, and before that a university archivist. His research interests include digital humanities, information literacy, and open access.

We will mute participants on entry into the Zoom room. We will mute participants on entry into the Zoom room. We will enable Zoom’s Live Transcription feature during the session, and it will be recorded and available on the C&CS YouTube page afterwards.

If you would like to present with the Connect & Communicate Series, please contact the C&CS team.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, Governor.

Support is also provided by the College and Research Division of the Pennsylvania Library Association. —

LOEX Recap and things for my summer list

June 2, 2023

I recently attended LOEX in Harrisburg, PA where someone told a story of a colleague who wrote down every time they said they’d do something in the summer. Summer came and they had a very long list of things to do (much like in Kelly Safin’s post 😉). Here are some reflections from LOEX and peep into my own summer list.

LOEX is my favorite conference because of its unique focus on instruction. At ACRL earlier this year, a technical services friend said he had to convince his admin to allow his attendance at ACRL because they saw it as an instruction conference. While there may be sessions about teaching, I see it as a research-heavy conference. LOEX is THE instruction conference.

This year, I found myself targeting sessions that focused on issues around mis- and disinformation. Amber Willenborg and Robert Detmering from the University of Louisville shared results from their research project about if and how librarians are dealing with misinformation in their teaching. In their presentation, “I Don’t Think Librarians Can Save Us:” Anxiety and Resilience in the Misinformation Crisis, Willenborg and Detmering described while librarians are limited by time and know that they alone cannot fix the problem of misinformation, many do engage with their students on the topic in ways that they can. In his session, Teaching Information Literacy in Untrusting Times: Prioritize Research for Understanding (not just Knowledge) Mark Lenker shared just how he engages with students when their trust in experts is in decline, focusing on making meaning in a complex information landscape.

One session that I went to on a whim was Creating a Values-Based Future: Reflection & Planning to Support the Creation of Sustainable Library Practices. In this session, the presenters shared activities from a team workshop that helped them create a vision and mission statement for their department. It was a challenge to do these activities just as an individual and I don’t think it was exactly the right time for me professionally, because we are anticipating organizational changes in our library. However, I am excited to dive into these activities with my own team when the time is right.

On my to do list

  • Lead a Reading Circle about teaching and learning
  • Plan out a new tiered-approach to research skills instruction
  • Create digital learning objects for sustainable and scalable use across the disciplines
  • Hang out with my family!

2023 Information Literacy Summit Registration Open

May 31, 2023

Registration for the 2023 PA Forward® Information Literacy Summit is now open! 

The Summit will be completely virtual this year.

The Summit takes place on July 26, 2021 from 8:30AM to 3PM. 

Attendees will receive CE and ACT 48 Credits (total to be determined)

Registration and further details are available via the PaLA website:

Registration will be open through Friday July 21, 2023

Collaborating with ROTC Cadets on Your Campus

May 22, 2023

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a program run by the United States military that trains college students to become military officers upon graduation. Each military branch has a corresponding corps:

Cadets (Army and Air Force) and Midshipmen (Navy) are college students who can major in whatever they wish – ROTC is considered either a minor or an elective course depending on the school. These courses include everything from basic military history to leadership labs, with most field training occurring in the summer. They are not on active duty and ineligible for deployment. However, they are paid a monthly stipend and most participating students receive full tuition scholarships. When they graduate, they receive commissions in the branch they chose with the rank of Ensign for NROTC graduates and Second Lieutenant for all others.

All three branches have programs at various locations across the state. Most units have a central location at a larger campus, while smaller schools near that campus have agreements in place to send any interested cadets to that location. The major locations are:

  • Army ROTC
    • Bucknell University
    • Clarion University of Pennsylvania
    • Dickinson College
    • Drexel University
    • Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
    • Gannon University
    • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Lehigh University
    • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
    • Moravian College
    • Penn State University Park
    • Shippensburg University
    • Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
    • Temple University
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Scranton
    • Valley Forge Military College
    • Widener University
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Penn State University Park
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Villanova University
    • Penn State University Park
    • St. Joseph’s University
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • Wilkes University

As a librarian at Penn State University Park, I happen to be at the only location in the state that hosts all three branches. This has given me the unique opportunity to collaborate with cadets to create guides and programs that meet their specific needs.

For example, every fall, AFROTC conducts its Professional Officer Course Leadership Laboratory (POC LLAB) for cadets in their third year of study. Senior students who took the course the previous year act as teaching assistants and guides, which gives them some mentoring experience before they graduate and earn their commissions. In 2021, a few of the seniors who happened to be engineering majors and knew I was a librarian asked if I could create an online course guide to help cadets find the information they would need to complete the required research assignments. I worked with them as I would have done if they were faculty instructors, determining the intended outcomes of the course and assignments so that we could decide which information sources would be the best to include. The guide was completed in time for the cadets to begin their final project, which they presented at the end of the semester to the rest of the AFROTC unit. The guide remains in use and can be found at I have even been invited to the presentations for the Fall 2021 and 2022 semesters.

This project led me to ask the cadets if a general ROTC LibGuide would be of use to them. Their overwhelming positive responses became the major factor in creating such a guide during the Spring 2022 semester. I worked directly with both upper-class cadets and midshipmen to determine what information to include. The officers in charge of the units were kept in the loop as much as possible and had ideas to add as well. The result is a guide that is useful for all Penn State cadets, including those who are students at Commonwealth Campus locations — The guide is broken down into five main sections:

  • General information on Penn State ROTC
  • Information relevant to all services
  • AFROTC-specific information
  • Army ROTC-specific information
  • NROTC-specific information

We included everything from uniform standards and physical fitness guides to data on major bases and official writing guides. Like the other LibGuides I control, I edit it every summer to ensure that all the information and links are current.

Although you may not know it, it is probable that you have a few cadets on your campus. Like members of any other organization on campus, they are students first with the same informational needs that all your other patrons have. However, as cadets, they also require access to special information that you may not normally deal with. You don’t need a military background to help them out. All you need is to know where to find what they need, and hopefully the guides I created can help you with that – and even inspire you to work with your cadets and midshipmen to create your own.