Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Flexible Course Models

With classes back in person across campus, we have the opportunity to experiment with practices that both honor the residential core of a Yale education and recognize the expanded suite of pedagogical methods and tools with which faculty are now familiar. Below we describe three instructional models that integrate digital technologies in service of effective residential teaching and learning. Each of these models prioritizes in-person learning while allowing faculty to apply a greater range of instructional strategies.

  1. Hold occasional synchronous online sessions. Yale College Course of Study guidelines limit teaching time dedicated to in-class film screenings and guest speakers to ensure sufficient classroom contact time between students and the instructor of record. A similar framework might be adopted for Zoom meetings during the term, limiting the number of sessions (to  a maximum of 300 minutes) based on meeting patterns and type. If the campus faces a public health challenge, Zoom could be used to allow class meetings to continue, or to leverage the platform’s benefits such as welcoming guest speakers who are not in New Haven.
  2. Reimagine class time. During remote teaching, many instructors recorded course content and increased their ability to create new teaching content. Faculty may consider a flipped or partially flipped classroom model using their catalog of teaching media (recorded lectures, annotated documents, etc.). In the flipped classroom meeting, material typically explored in lecture is delivered outside of class through video lectures, narrated slides, digital modules, and/or other online media. In-person, synchronous class time becomes available to focus on the development of knowledge through discussion, problem sets, case studies, group activities, or experiential learning.  In this model, the published class times must be held in person, while the flipped portion is asynchronous.
  3. Provide live streaming and lecture capture. We continue to equip FAS classrooms with audio-visual systems to simplify live streaming and lecture capture. In this model, faculty offer live streaming and lecture capture, providing students with options for engaging with lectures. Importantly, these courses also incorporate regular required in-person elements such as sections or problem-solving sessions to ensure a robust in-person component. Instructors who plan to implement one of the models above are encouraged to contact the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning for support. The Poorvu Center will collaborate with the University Registrar’s Office to confirm the course meets school requirements and is described accurately in the school’s bulletin.

The Poorvu Center can also support the design and delivery of new course elements, but instructors considering different models that incorporate digital technologies must first seek approval from the Course of Study Committee. The Poorvu Center will then coordinate with the Registrar’s office and partner with instructors to evaluate the outcomes of implementing the new teaching methods. Based on the outcomes of a pilot throughout the 2022-2023 academic year, the Poorvu Center will recommend necessary adjustments to the course models outlined above or additional models that should be considered.