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Online Course & Program Definitions


Online Asynchronous Course (own time, off-campus)*

All course activity is done online with no pre-scheduled sessions. Purely online courses eliminate geography as a factor in the relationship between the student and the institution. They consist entirely of online elements that facilitate the three critical student interactions: course content, course instructor, and other students. These courses are designed to meet the needs of students who do not have effective access to campus. They may reside near the campus, or they may reside quite a distance away in other states or even in other countries.

Online Synchronous Course (scheduled, off-campus)*

Web-based technologies are used to deliver classroom lectures and other activities to students in real time during pre-scheduled sessions. These courses use web conferencing or other synchronous media to create a real-time classroom experience, including interaction with classmates and the instructor. 

Blended Course(both online and on-campus components)*

Course activity is done asynchronously online, but there are required real-time (synchronous and classroom-based) instructional activities, such as lectures, discussions, labs, or other face-to-face learning activities. The distinction of blended is important because the inclusion of face-to-face work sets geographic limitations on student access.


Online Program (off-campus)*

Course designations include any combination:  Online Asynchronous or Online Synchronous

All credits required to complete the program are offered as fully online (synchronous or asynchronous) courses. Students can complete the program completely at a distance, with no required on site meetings. Fully online programs are designed with the truly distant student in mind, also providing support services— registration, testing, advising, library support, etc.—at a distance.

Blended Program (both online and on-campus components)*

Course designations may include any combination:  Online Asynchronous, Online Synchronous, Blended, or In-Person.

A significant percentage, but not all, of the credits required for program completion are offered fully online. These programs provide increased access to students who are able to come to campus for some courses, laboratory work, intensive residencies, or other occasional group sessions. In-person sessions are organized to minimize travel requirements for distant students. All academic support services are available to distant students as well.