Please explore this site for links, guides, videos and other resources to help with designing and teaching online and hybrid courses. A good place to start this conversation is to think about what we mean when we say “online learning.”

What is Online Learning?

Online learning is a comprehensive term that includes a number of instructional environments and approaches but usually refers to students using technology to learn at a distance.

Asynchronous Online Courses

These types of course offerings do not take place in real–time. Students are provided with content and assignments and are given a time frame to complete course work and exams. Interaction usually takes place through discussion boards, blogs and wikis. As a result, there is no class meeting time.

Asynchronous online learning environments are effective for students with time constraints or busy schedules.

Synchronous Online Courses

These types of course offerings require the instructor and all enrolled students to interact online simultaneously. Similar in some ways to a webinar, participants interact through text, video or audio chat. Synchronous learning environments enable students to participate in a course from a distance and maintain real time interaction.

Hybrid Courses

Hybrid courses, also known as blended courses, are learning environments that allow for both in–person and online interaction. Typically, hybrid courses meet in person several times during a semester and provide for computer–based communication in between those face to face sessions.


Flexible Hybrid (HyFlex) courses became prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. These courses are usually described as being hybrid in terms of space rather than time. Historically, hybrid courses described how students learned synchronously and asynchronously. Flexible has come to mean the physical location of students — present in the classroom or conferenced in from a remote location. HyFlex courses offer both synchronous and asynchronous learning and in-person and remote presence.

Steven D’Agustino is the Director of Online Learning at Fordham University.

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