There is a Great Disturbance in Your Course: ActiveFlex Strikes Back

  • Thursday, June 22, 2023
  • Time: 10:45am – 11:15am CT
  • Location: Yellow Rose Ballroom + Zoom


In a galaxy not so far, far away, an evil force threatened our students’ ability to persist through their courses. Necessity forced us to try new techniques and re-explore older concepts to engage and teach our students. Implementation of a HyFlex model enabled our students to push through the COVID—19 pandemic towards their educational goals. However, as we launched our HyFlex initiative, it became clear that certain elements were not as strong in retaining student and faculty interest. Adjustments were made which led to our current version – ActiveFlex. Soon, the COVID-19 threat began to wane, but the force of flexibility remained. New threats to student persistence arose. Consequently, students continued requesting ActiveFlex courses as situations such as work, family, and other obligations made the rigidity of previous scheduling options problematic. ActiveFlex offered hope for stronger student persistence regardless of what a student may face. Hear the perspectives of our ActiveFlex designers, faculty members, and students about what makes ActiveFlex work, what our growth strategy was, and how it has fared in the classroom. Let us walk you through how to take your HyFlex / ActiveFlex courses from Padawan level to Jedi Knight level. Then, join us in a discussion to determine a way for all of us to become ActiveFlex masters.

Speakers: Mark Gale, Ph.D., Chloe Cruz, and Marla Williams, Athens State University

Mark Gale Chloe Cruz Marla-Williams-circle

Mark Gale is an Associate Professor of Instructional Design at Athens State University and is in charge of designing and developing the instructional design undergraduate program at the university. He has over 15 years of experience with design and delivery of technology enhanced and online courses. In August 2022, he was principle author on a grant proposal that was awarded to the University and launched the ActiveFlex project at the university. Prior to his current position, he served as director of the university’s Academic Technology Services unit which dealt with design and faculty development. His interests include multimedia development, board games, video games, Legos, and anything else his two young kids are interested in.

Chloe Cruz is a Senior at Athens State University pursuing a degree in instructional design. She will be graduating in Summer 2023 and is planning to pursue a master’s degree in career and technical education with a concentration in instructional technology. She has taken multiple ActiveFlex courses in her time at Athens State University and is a strong proponent of the format. Outside of school and instructional design, her other interests include traveling, puzzles, Legos, dabbling in photography, and creating new designs.

Marla Williams is an Associate Professor of Elementary Education at Athens State University and teaches Assessment Strategies for Elementary Classroom and Curriculum and Instruction: Science courses for all Elementary and Elementary Collaborative students. Marla also serves a dual role as the CAEP Coordinator for all accreditation purposes. She has over 33 years of teaching experience with 27 of those years in K-6 grade classrooms and has also served in several administrative positions during that time. Marla has been providing ActiveFlex classes for Athens State for the past two years and is currently in the process of creating a new format for a STEM course and working with a local STEM elementary school to live stream instruction and discussion with current elementary students. Outside of Athens State, Marla lives on a small farm in rural Alabama with her husband of 32 years, 2 cats, 1 German Shepard, 9 chickens, and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities.


Program Notes: 

  • All sessions are held at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center (Dallas, TX)
  • All sessions are considered BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
  • Sessions will be available via live broadcasting from the onsite conference. You must be a registered attendee (onsite or virtual) in order to view these sessions live or on-demand.
  • All sessions are in US Central Time Zone.