Faculty and instructors are requested to identify their courses as either 1) synchronous – required or 2) synchronous – optional. SPIRE will be coded to be able to identify all fully remote courses with this information: either synchronous-required or synchronous-optional. We are requesting that departmental scheduling representatives/assistants work with the faculty on collecting this information for each fully remote course and to input this information into SPIRE. The goal is to have this information in SPIRE for all Fully Remote courses by January 15th. These designations will assist students as they finalize their spring course schedules prior to the start of classes and through the add/drop period.
Synchronous – Required: Many faculty choose to design their fully remote courses with required attendance during scheduled class day/times for class sessions, exams, labs or other class components. Synchronous—required courses means that students are required to participate during the scheduled class day/time as they would as if the class was in-person. This status indicates that the instructor requires attendance for some components of their fully remote course.
- Synchronous – Optional: Some faculty and instructors designed their fall courses in ways that provided a wide range of synchronous opportunities for engagement including synchronous class sessions, tutorial sessions, discussions and group and individual office hours for students. These faculty encouraged but did not require student attendance at synchronous sessions and provided alternative asynchronous engagement activities as well (i.e., recorded the “live” lecture and allowed students to watch it at their convenience or provided pre-recorded lectures of the class sessions). These courses should be designated as synchronous – optional. While attendance at synchronous – optional course sessions is not required it is recommended and encouraged for all students, however students can successfully meet all course expectations through asynchronous engagement.
Full definitions of Synchronous-Required and Synchronous-Optional course designations
What is expected of Instructors? If faculty require attendance at any synchronous components of the course the course designation is Synchronous-required. Synchronous – required courses are delivered primarily through required online synchronous class sessions during the days/times the class is scheduled in SPIRE. Attendance policies at synchronous-required courses are consistent with the University Attendance Policies and instructors must offer reasonable assistance to students with excused absences in making up missed work because of religious observances, athletic events, field trips, health reasons or other extenuating non-academic reasons. Instructional strategies may vary and can include standard lectures, discussions, tutorials, and group activities. All assessments, including exams and finals, are scheduled according to the Registrar’s Remote Exam Policies. In addition, instructors provide weekly scheduled synchronous office hours and critical content is also provided asynchronously for all students. Asynchronous content may include recordings of the synchronous class sessions and/or pre-recorded audio or video, and/or annotated PowerPoint presentations.
What is expected of Students? Students are required to attend all synchronous class sessions and should plan their schedules accordingly. Scheduled class sessions are indicated in SPIRE. Attendance is a required element of the course that assists students in meeting the course expectations and supports student academic success. All assessments, including exams and finals are scheduled according to the Registrar’s Remote Exam Policies. As with in person classes absences may be excused at the discretion of the instructor or in accordance with the University Attendance Policies.
What is expected of Instructors? Faculty and instructors deliver this course through a mix of asynchronous learning activities and synchronous sessions that may include group tutorials, discussion sections, small group activities, and lectures. Students attendance at synchronous sessions is recommended and encouraged but not required; students can successfully meet all course expectations asynchronously. Critical content is also provided asynchronously for students unable to attend the synchronous class sessions. Instructors who include participation points in their overall course grading distribution must provide options for students to demonstrate participation through both synchronous and asynchronous activities such that a student can earn all of the grading participation points via either modality. Asynchronous learning activities may feature student engagement with pre-recorded video and audio recordings, annotated PowerPoint presentations, recordings of optional synchronous sessions, and/or online discussion forums. All assessments, including exams and finals are flexibly scheduled and open for a minimum of a 24-hour window. Instructors provide weekly scheduled synchronous office hours.
What is expected of Students? Students are encouraged to attend all synchronous learning opportunities offered in these courses. Synchronous learning activities are designed to support student academic success, to foster engagement with peers and instructors and to build classroom learning communities. Attendance, however, is not required and students can successfully meet all course expectations asynchronously. Asynchronous learning activities may feature student engagement with pre-recorded video and audio recordings, annotated PowerPoint presentations, recordings of synchronous sessions, and/or online discussion forums. All assessments, including exams and finals are flexibly scheduled and open for a minimum of a 24-hour window.