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Medicine Hat College's BEET program introduces new HyFlex model

April 23, 2021

Medicine Hat College’s (MHC) Built Environment Engineering Technology (BEET) program is now offering a “HyFlex” model that emphasizes flexibility. The new format will allow students to choose between online, face-to-face or a combination approach to support their learning.

The BEET program quickly adapted to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new HyFlex offering pushes the concept of online learning one step further. Peter Kelly, program coordinator, mentions that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and through this past year they have been able to trial various teaching methods.

“The experience and objectives of the program remain the same; whether you are attending in-person or online there is a quality assurance.”

Cameras and markers are set up in the classroom to ensure the instructor is visible to everyone. With the instructor ‘on stage’, the cameras are another audience, with extra attention paid to making eye contact and addressing the virtual attendees as if they were sitting in the room. All students - whether face-to-face or online - are encouraged to log into Microsoft Teams so they can engage with their classmates. In addition, Classes are recorded and available to all students to watch on their own time.

This blended approach is the future of education, explains Kelly, as it enables all learners - whether they have to balance part-time jobs or family life, or just need flexibility in their schedules - to still get a quality education. The HyFlex approach allows students to participate in a way that is meaningful to them in the moment. It puts the control in their hands about how and when they receive their education.

As technology is a large focus of BEET, Kelly is looking at options that will ensure the experience remains the same whether in-person or online.

“Our software is already available to our students virtually and at no cost. For technology like access to a 3D printer, we have a number of options available that will ensure the program outcomes are still met.”

For BEET student Andrew Gendron, the HyFlex option has enabled him to balance his personal and educational needs.

“HyFlex learning has been beneficial because I can watch our lessons after class if I forgot something. I had a situation this semester where I had other obligations that interfered with class time. This structure allowed me to focus on other things and catch up by watching the class later in the evening.”

Chad Flinn, dean for the School of Trades and Technology says this teaching model is a concept he feels could benefit other programs. 

“The pandemic has shown us what we can achieve online and opens up access and opportunity to people that may not be able to attend college in the traditional sense, explains Flinn.

“BEET is the only MHC program offering HyFlex at this time, but we envision this being delivered in other areas within the School of Trades and Technology in the future. Learners have total autonomy to choose their own path and are not tied to one delivery method or another. They can attend in person one day, online the next. Watch the lecture live or catch the recording at a later time. There is tremendous value in this blended approach and we look forward to watching it grow.”

Students in the Built Environment Engineering Technology program gain skills in drafting, engineering technology, architectural technology, and design to create the products and places that will help drive industry worldwide. The program focuses on the fundamental theories and concepts in three core disciplines while learning and applying current technology so that graduates are prepared to enter a professional career as an architectural technologist, a mechanical engineering technologist, or a civil engineering technologist. BEET graduates can apply for membership in the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

For more information on the HyFlex option or to register for BEET, visit www.mhc.ab.ca/BEET.

Access a Q&A on HyFlex here.


Watch and learn what the Built Environment Engineering Technology program is