Instructional Modalities

APU categorizes classes using one of five instructional modalities. All class sections should be appropriately identified using the definitions below. Instructional modalities provide critical information to students by setting expectations for their learning experiences. Accurate use of instructional modalities also ensures APU’s ability to reliably report on methods of class delivery.

Instructional Modalities Comparison Chart
Course Characteristics In-Person Distance Blended Online Async. Online Sync.
Temporary modality until further notice
Instruction occurs in an APU campus classroom
Instruction occurs in a virtual environment
Classes meet synchronously at scheduled times
Canvas contains essential course materials
Requires approval from Studies Council, OCS, Registrar, and ITT (with accreditation implications)

Updated 3/30/2021

APU is following the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines for colleges and universities. Anticipating the need for continued social distancing and to keep our community safe, we are looking at possible blending of instructional modalities until further notice. This could include a mix of in-person, distance (hyflex), and blended (hybrid) courses.

Definitions

In-person courses deliver 100% of their instruction in classrooms on APU campuses. Students have required classroom attendance at their campus location, and classes meet at regularly scheduled times. In-person faculty use Canvas to support student learning.

Blended courses meet at an APU campus classroom but deliver at least 33% but less than 50% of their instruction in an online format. The online instruction can be synchronous or asynchronous. Compared with in-person courses, blended courses have substantially more activity conducted in Canvas, which substitutes for some classes offered in physical classrooms. The online instruction format has specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Online asynchronous courses deliver 50% or more of their instruction in an online format. Students are not required to attend class at scheduled times; rather, they engage in independent learning activities and assignments in Canvas in accordance with course instructions. Some online asynchronous courses may offer optional live video conference meetings, but these real-time meetings are not required. These courses have specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Online synchronous courses deliver 50% or more of their instruction in an online format. Synchronous courses require students to meet online in real time for live instruction, group interactions, and/or other learning activities. Synchronous online courses do not meet on campus; rather, students log into the online classroom from off-site locations. These courses have specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Distance learning courses originate in an APU campus classroom where the instructor and students meet. Video conference technology allows additional students from off-site locations to interact with the instructor and students at the campus classroom using video, audio, and text. Students from off-site locations have specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Who Determines Instructional Modalities?

The academic department identifies the instructional modality of a class as part of the standard scheduling materials submitted to the registrar. If necessary, the academic department can consult with the Office of Curricular Support and/or the Office of Innovative Teaching and Technology to determine the best instructional modality for a class.

Approval Process

Note that before a course can be officially approved and listed by the registrar as blended, distance learning, or online, the course needs to go through the appropriate approval process outlined below.

Moreover, a faculty member who is teaching one of these courses for the first time will need to complete the relevant self-paced training. Only faculty members who have successfully completed the relevant training can be assigned to teach a blended, distance learning, or online course.

Propose a New Blended, Distance Learning, or Online Course

  1. Contact the Office of Curricular Support at ocs@apu.edu or (626) 857-2406 to initiate the process.
  2. ITT will work with the faculty subject-matter expert (SME) to design, build, and deliver a flexible course that can be used in any modality: online, blended, or distance. This approach ensures that all students receive a high-quality learning experience.

Change the Instruction Mode of an Existing Course

  1. Log into Courseleaf, select the existing course, and click the green Edit Course button.
  2. In the “Modality of the course” section, check the appropriate box(es).

Enroll in Required Certification Courses

  1. Faculty teaching blended, distance learning, and/or online courses are required to take the relevant self-paced training courses. Learn more about these certification courses.
  2. Faculty members who have completed comparable ITT training (e.g., Orientation to Online Teaching, Course Redesign Institute, Teaching with Technology Institute, etc.) could receive credit. Contact ITT at ittsupport@apu.edu for more information.

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