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Teaching and Learning Modalities

On-Campus Modalities in Traditional Classrooms

The following modalities all require students to come to an on-campus traditional classroom that does not include technology for videoconferencing or recording of class meetings.

On-Campus

This is the mode of instruction that you’re likely most familiar with. These class sessions meet in person on the specified day(s) and times, throughout the term.

  • Pros: It’s familiar, requires minimal mastery of new technology, and allows you considerable flexibility inside the classroom.
  • Cons: It is inflexible in that it requires you and all of your students to meet in a classroom at the same time.

 

On-Campus Hybrid

These class sessions blend in-person sessions on the specified day(s) and times with online asynchronous learning opportunities (e.g., video-lectures, online activities, discussions). For example, instead of teaching a traditional, on-campus course that meets T-TH 9:30 - 11:00, all of your students would only come to campus on Tuesdays, from 9:30 - 11:00. All other learning activities would be moved to an asynchronous online format.

  • Pros: Combines the best of face-to-face and online environments; research indicates hybrid instruction is more effective than purely face-to-face or online instruction.
  • Cons: Still requires students to physically come to campus (albeit less frequently), which can limit their options for schedule flexibility; requires careful calibration between face-to-face and online learning activities.

 

Adapted from 'Course Modalities' at DePaul University.

Fully Online Modalities with No On-Campus Presence

The following modalities do not require a physical classroom. All course activities are conducted online via synchronous videoconferencing and/or asynchronously.

Online: Asynchronous

Asynchronous online classes have been the default modality for online learning at DePaul since the early 2000s. There are no set meeting times, and course content is available to you and students 24/7 via D2L. If an instructor offers synchronous meeting opportunities in this modality, student attendance should be optional and students who cannot attend should not be penalized.

  • Pros: Most flexible format in terms of scheduling for both instructors and students.
  • Cons: Can be difficult building a sense of community in the class and keeping students engaged and motivated; requires significant up-front investment in course design.

 

Online: Synchronous

This class meets at scheduled times via a video conferencing tool, such as Zoom. The scheduled meetings cover the entirety of the required contact hours for the course.

  • Pros: These online courses are most similar to in-classroom learning in that all instruction and student interaction can be conducted in real time.
  • Cons: Least flexible of all online learning formats; students must have the time, bandwidth, and tools to participate in frequent, required video conferences at fixed times.

 

Online: Hybrid

Online hybrid blends asynchronous and synchronous online formats, with 30% or more of the learning activities designated as asynchronous online. Synchronous videoconference meetings are scheduled and occur using tools like Zoom. It is important to establish dates and times of synchronous meetings in advance. This allows the information to be included in the scheduling system so that students can build their course schedules with that information in mind.

  • Pros: Synchronous meetings may help increase a sense of community among students and the instructor; they enable real-time discussions and group work.
  • Cons: Requires reliable high-speed internet access and fixed schedules for synchronous sessions.

 

Adapted from 'Course Modalities' at DePaul University.

On-Campus Modalities with Zoom-Enabled Classrooms

The following modalities require an on-campus classroom that is equipped with Zoom hardware and software. These classrooms allow some students to be physically present while others access the class online at the same time through Zoom.

Flex (or Bimodal)

This class meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room. Students are free to attend on-campus or synchronously on Zoom and may change their attendance location anytime throughout the quarter. All learning activities, including assessments, are planned in an equitable manner, serving both student audiences. There is no expectation for students to attend in-person learning activities, including assessments. Course sessions can be recorded and uploaded to D2L at the instructor's discretion. 

  • Pros: Increased flexibility for students. Instructors can expand access to live class sessions without investing time in creating asynchronous learning activities.
  • Cons:  Engaging with a class in which some students are present on campus  and others are on Zoom can be challenging.

For more information, click on the Quick Start Guide to BiModal Teaching by Concordia University

 

Flex Plus Zoom

This class meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room. It offers two sections for students to choose from: a Flex section where students can participate in person or in Zoom, and a Zoom-only section.

  • Pros: Great flexibility for students. Allows for increased enrollment beyond the physical limitation of the room. 

  • Cons: Engaging with a class in which some students are present on campus  and others are on Zoom can be challenging; assessments need careful planning for the remote and in-class audiences.

 

On-Campus Plus Zoom

This class meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room. It offers two sections for students to choose from: a regular face-to-face section where in-person attendance is required and a Zoom-only section. Students register for either the on-campus section or the Zoom section. Students need instructor’s permission to switch sections.

  • Pros: Instructors can expand access to live class sessions without investing time in creating asynchronous learning activities.
  • Cons: Less flexibility for students; engaging with a class in which some students are present on campus and others are on Zoom can be challenging.

 

HyFlex (or Trimodal)

This class meets on campus in a Zoom-enabled room. It offers two sections for students to choose from: an on-campus section (typically Flex but could also be regular on campus) and an online asynchronous section. Students in the online asynchronous section have the option to join the on-campus class via Zoom, if and when they are available. All students can review recordings of the live classes. All classes are automatically recorded and can be accessed via the course D2L page. 

  • Pros: Instructors can expand access to live class sessions.
  • Cons: Students who don’t attend class sessions in real time may feel left out when watching recordings after class has ended.

For more information, click on 7 Things You Should Know About the Hyflex Course Model by Natalie Milman.

 

Adapted from 'Course Modalities' at DePaul University.