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Expanded definitions of online teaching and learning

February 23, 2021

Cardinal Update News Newsletters

To clarify and address questions about our varying teaching and learning methods, Academic Affairs is pleased to offer expanded definitions of online teaching and learning. These definitions are based on approvals from the Educational Standards Committee at the College and the Academic Policy Committee at the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs. The deans and academic administrative teams were also consulted.

Currently, Saint Mary’s offers traditional (in-person, on-ground, classroom-based) courses, 100% fully-online asynchronous courses, and blended courses (a combination of asynchronous content as well as in-person meetings throughout the term). With the shift to emergency remote teaching due to COVID-19, many Saint Mary’s faculty teaching blended courses have noted the enhanced flexibility to students by offering synchronous class meetings through Zoom in place of face-to-face class meetings.

Therefore, Saint Mary’s has expanded its definitions for online learning to include:

  • “100% online” — Courses coded as “online” are 100% asynchronous online courses that, while offering regular engagement from instructors and students, do not require synchronous meeting times.
  • “Remote” — Courses coded as “remote” are online courses that are both asynchronous and synchronous, offering weeks of asynchronous learning and engagement, while also requiring specific synchronous meetings between instructors and students.
  • “Emergency remote” — Courses coded as “emergency remote” are designated for those instances where remote delivery of content is necessary, given external situations, such as a natural disaster or pandemic, as communicated by university leadership.

These definitions do not impact our traditional classroom delivered courses, independent studies, or practica.

See this document for guidance on best practices for integrating synchronous learning into online courses.