Office of the University Registrar

Course Modes

UWT Piloting New Course Mode Definitions in the Time Schedule

In 2021, student leadership requested more clarity in the time schedule about when and where a course would be delivered.

In response, the Tri-Campus Digital Learning Alliance developed and vetted new definitions for in-person, hybrid, synchronous, and asynchronous online courses. UW Tacoma is piloting these new definitions in the Autumn 2022 time schedule. The pilot will include training for departmental time schedule coordinators.

UWT faculty are asked to make use of these new definitions; any course not indicated will default to in-person. (The current plan is to invite UW Seattle and UW Bothell faculty to join the pilot in Winter 2023.)

Course Mode Decision Tree

The following decision tree is designed to help instructors and time schedule coordinators determine how to code a given course.

A flowchart diagram describes the decision process for a faculty member selecting the appropriate course mode for their class based on the definitions.

Course Modality Decision Tree

Course Mode Definitions

In-person
All required class meetings occur in a physical classroom. The course may also have online content and activities that students engage in outside of class time as homework or study materials. The time schedule contains information about the course’s required weekly physical classroom meeting time. In-person courses adhere to the dates of instruction listed in the academic calendar.
Hybrid
Some, but not all, required class meetings occur in a physical classroom. When not meeting in the physical classroom, students and instructors will attend class online, either through required synchronous sessions or required asynchronous activities. The time schedule contains information about the course’s required weekly physical classroom and synchronous meeting time. Hybrid courses adhere to the dates of instruction listed in the academic calendar.
Synchronous Online
Students and instructors interact online synchronously through regularly-scheduled, required meetings using applications such as Zoom. Students should also expect to interact with others and engage in course materials asynchronously. The time schedule contains information about the course’s regular, required synchronous meeting time. Synchronous online courses adhere to the dates of instruction listed in the academic calendar.
Asynchronous Online
Students and instructors always interact with others and engage course materials asynchronously. While there are no regularly-scheduled, required synchronous class meetings, students are expected to meet all assignment deadlines and may be asked to schedule occasional, brief synchronous one-on-one check-in meetings with the instructors. Asynchronous online courses adhere to the dates of instruction listed in the academic calendar.

Updates that Appear in the Time Schedule

Updates you will see to the online Time Schedule will better align codes with current practice and will involve a few changes, listed below.

Updated Letter Codes in the ‘Other’ Column

  • A – Asynchronous Online courses will now be flagged as ‘A’
  • O –Synchronous Online courses will now be flagged as ‘O’
  • B – Hybrid courses will still be flagged as ‘B’

The ‘D’ flag for distance learning no longer appears

Policies and practices around distance learning (e.g., curricular approval, definition of distance learning, etc.) remain the same, but now ‘A’ and ‘O’ will appear instead of ‘D’ in the online Time Schedule to avoid redundancy. UWT courses must select either ‘A’ or ‘O’ to accurately reflect course mode. UWB and UWS are invited to use the new codes or simply select ‘O’ for all online courses of either type.

Updated help window and automatic system comments

  • The help window for the ‘Other’ column in the online Time Schedule has been updated with the new terms. Please note that for the Autumn pilot, ‘O’ will be reserved for synchronous online courses on the UWT campus but will be the default code for all online courses on the UWB and UWS campuses.
  • The automatic system comments that you see when you click on an SLN have been updated to ‘Hybrid’, ‘Synchronous Online Learning’, and ‘Asynchronous Online Learning.’

Frequently Asked Questions

Who developed these definitions?

At the request of UW leadership, and in response to student and instructor need, the Tri-Campus Digital Learning Alliance developed and vetted the definitions, incorporating feedback from the following groups:

  1. UW Tacoma Academic Policy and Curriculum Committee
  2. Faculty Council on Teaching & Learning
  3. Faculty Council on Student Affairs
  4. Faculty Council on Academic Standards
  5. Advisory Council on Technology-enhanced Teaching
  6. UW Bothell Campus Council on Academic Standards
  7. Associate Deans focus group
  8. Administrative staff that support pedagogy and instructional technology on UW’s three campuses
  9. Registrars from UW’s three campuses
  10. Student focus group
  11. Advisors

Were faculty consulted?

Yes. Over 120 faculty were consulted in the development of the definitions, including the chair of the Faculty Senate, members of three Faculty Councils, and faculty groups on the Bothell and Tacoma campuses.

Are faculty required to participate in the pilot?

UWT courses with a DL designation have always been required to indicate course mode in the time schedule. DL courses will therefore need to participate in the pilot of the new course mode definitions. Current plans are for UWS and UWB faculty to be invited, but not required, to participate in Winter 2023.

I teach in person but have a conference coming up. If I ask my class to meet online that week, does that make it a hybrid course?

No. Hybrid courses are those that regularly meet in person for some class sessions and online for others. Occasional adjustments to schedules to accommodate travel, medical procedures or other planned events can be indicated in the syllabus.

The course I teach does not fit exactly into these four course modes. What should I do?

Use the decision tree to select the course mode that best fits where and when your course is held. Add additional specifics or nuance to the Notes section of the time schedule.

Will this be communicated to students?

There will be no formal communications with students in the pilot phase. Students will see the new course mode information and definitions in the time schedule for sections participating in the pilot. Student user groups shared feedback during development that the definitions were intuitive and easy to understand.

Will these course modes appear in MyPlan?

Integration with MyPlan is not in scope for the pilot, but plans are in place for MyPlan integration at a later date so students can better filter for course modes that work best for their schedules.

Are international students eligible to take online or hybrid courses?

International students on F1 and J1 visas can take hybrid courses that have required in-person course sessions. Fully online courses, whether synchronous or asynchronous, are not eligible for international students on F1 or J1 visas.

Can I use these new definitions and participate in the pilot if I teach in Seattle or Bothell?

Seattle and Bothell faculty will be invited to participate in a broader, tri-campus pilot of these new course mode definitions in Winter 2023, but you are welcome to pilot them earlier. The time schedule has long had the option to indicate if a class is hybrid or online, and you may choose to use those codes for your Autumn courses. If you indicate a course is online, the notes will default to ‘Synchronous Online.’ If you would like to list your course as Asynchronous Online for Summer or Autumn 2022, please have your Time Schedule coordinator contact the appropriate scheduling office to update the coding or use the notes section of the time schedule to let students know course details.

What if I have feedback about these definitions?

As a pilot, ongoing feedback on the course mode definitions and implementation as well as other suggestions are most welcome. Submit your feedback.

Contact

Ongoing feedback on the course mode definitions and implementation as well as other suggestions are most welcome. Submit your feedback – DLA contact form.