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Modes of Course Delivery


We are providing the following list of definitions in order to offer some consistency in describing various modes of in-person, distance, and hybrid learning for students and instructors, timetabling, and creating course timing and expectations. 

Illustration of a classroom

Fully in-person teaching refers to courses that are specifically designed for classroom delivery. Face-to-face instruction assumes that all students are able to attend classroom sessions.

In-person teaching can leverage digital tools like D2L Brightspace for administration, collaboration, and communication purposes, but the majority of learning and teaching is done in the classroom. 

Fully online teaching refers to courses that are specifically designed for digital delivery and facilitation. At Ryerson, these types of courses are mainly developed by and delivered through The Chang School.

Fully online courses use a variety of digital learning strategies and are developed through collaboration between an instructional design team and subject matter experts. These courses may or may not have scheduled meeting times

Remote teaching refers to courses that are delivered virtually with students participating in the course without coming to campus. This is a temporary solution for classes that are usually delivered face-to-face.

Remote courses may use asynchronous or synchronous (real-time) strategies, or a combination of both. Asynchronous remote teaching utilises digital technologies (D2L Brightspace, Google Workspace) to facilitate teaching and learning without requirement of real-time connection. Synchronous sessions take place during scheduled class time using virtual meeting software (Zoom, Google Meet).

Blended (also called hybrid) courses are designed to reduce the amount of in-class teaching time, shifting a portion of course delivery to self-paced asynchronous online learning. For example, in a three-hour/week course, one hour could be used to deliver content online and the class could meet in-person for two hours. Often, this model creates opportunities to shift content delivery online in order to create more time for active learning when students and instructors meet. During a time of physical distancing, this may be more challenging to achieve.

For the purposes of planning for a return to campus, blended/hybrid course design could provide more flexibility in classroom use. For example, more classroom space could be leveraged by reducing classroom use by courses by 30%. Alternatively, with lecture-based material delivered online, large classes could meet in smaller sections. To take advantage of this mode in the short-term, course scheduling might require alignment. 

Hybrid Flexible (HyFlex) teaching describes a mixed-mode of teaching in which there are students participating online and in the classroom at the same time. Students can choose, week by week, how they will attend class. The instructor teaches from the classroom and a live feed is available for the students attending remotely. Digital tools are employed to allow all students to be actively engaged in learning activities. There is no reduction in in-class teaching time in the HyFlex model.

HyFlex teaching is resource-intensive, requiring microphones, cameras, and the capacity for live streaming and video recording from within the classroom. To engage students online and in class, careful planning and design prior to class time is required. Enabling faculty and instructors to manage both online and in-class students, as well as the instructional technology has been shown to be facilitated by increased training and support (Beatty, 2019, external link; PDF fileEducause, 2020, external link).