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Remote Teaching vs. Online Learning

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The Difference Between Remote Teaching and “Online Learning.”

This differentiation is intended as an informal pedagogical description of context. Campus SIRIS submissions should always adhere to formal Online Learning Data Definitions and codes.

  1. Remote Teaching & Learning (Occurs due to a sudden emergency with no time to plan or prepare to transition to an online/technology-enhanced teaching and learning environment. Neither faculty, nor students have planned, nor elected to teach or learn remotely online.)
  2. Online/Distance Learning (Are fully-planned, resourced, and supported online faculty development and course design initiatives, often taking six to nine months before the online instructor is prepared, and the online course is delivered. Both faculty and students have deliberately chosen to teach and learn online.)
    • Types Course Delivery Models*:
      • Online
        • Asynchronous: Online, but not live, or at the same time/place. 100% of the Direct instruction occurs under time delay; that is, direct instruction is recorded/stored and accessed later.
        • Synchronous: Online live video. 100% of the Direct instruction occurs in real time without (time) delay.
        • Combined Online: Combinations of optional & required Synchronous & Asynchronous course delivery and interaction types. 100% of the Direct instruction combines both Synchronous and Asynchronous type.
          • Primarily Synchronous – live video (with some asynchronous activities/components that occur online but not live or at the same time/place.)
          • Primarily Asynchronous – online but not live or at the same time/place (with some synchronous activities/components that occur live and at the same time.)
      • Hybrid
        • A portion (0.01% – 99.9%) of the direct instruction of the course section’s curricular content is delivered to the student via an online communication method and the remaining portion of the direct instruction is required to be delivered face to face.
      • Hyflex
        • Combines online and face-to-face instruction simultaneously into one single course section. Students are able to participate in class in different ways: as a synchronous distance learner (via real-time, video-streaming); as an asynchronous distance learner (accessing materials, recorded lectures, and responding at a later time); as a face-to-face learner (physically present in the classroom); or as a flexible learner (with a degree of choice as to how they participate each week; sometimes face-to-face, sometimes by streaming class sessions, etc.).*There are other types/modes/models/approaches/combinations (such as face-to-face. self-paced, AI enabled, competency-based, apprenticeship, adaptive, MOOCS, etc.). A limited list of delivery models is presented here for the sake of simplicity, Taken from

Remote Teaching & Learning during the Pandemic

Because of ongoing uncertainties with COVID19 there continues to be a lack of time and insufficient resources to fully prepare the numbers of faculty and courses necessary, which results in continued challenges of the emergency circumstances characterized in remote teaching.

Based on your campus supports, tools, and recommendations; your student circumstances; discipline-specific needs/requirements; and your personal adaptability and skills, you will likely continue to be asked to make choices and decisions about your upcoming course design and delivery. The need to continue social distancing requires us to rethink everything from classrooms to residences. Continuing to support and improve remote teaching, or to be prepared for any eventuality, especially for faculty teaching lab and studio courses, research, practicum and hand’s on courses where access to equipment are required, continues to pose challenges that require ongoing faculty development, course review and continuous improvements, as well as creative course delivery approaches.

The Remote Teaching Checklist is intended to help you prepare and plan for remote teaching.

Remote Teaching Checklist >>


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