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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 Hyflex Hybrid Online Async. Online Sync.
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 DPD (with accreditation implications)   

In-Person: In-person courses deliver their instruction in classrooms on APU campuses. Students and faculty engage during regularly scheduled times in a designated classroom at their campus location. In-person faculty use Canvas to support student learning.

Online Asynchronous: Online asynchronous courses deliver their instruction in an entirely online format. Students are not required to attend class at scheduled times; rather, they engage in independent learning activities and assignments using Canvas, in accordance with course instructions. Some online asynchronous courses may offer occasional live video conference meetings. These courses have specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Online Synchronous: Online synchronous courses deliver their instruction in an entirely online format. Using videoconferencing technology (e.g., Zoom), 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 use their personal technology to access the online classroom from off-site locations. These courses have specific technology requirements such as access to a computing device and internet connectivity.

Hybrid (Formerly “Blended”): At least one class session is held on campus in a physical classroom. Other class sessions are conducted entirely online with no students attending class on campus for those online sessions. The online class sessions may be synchronous or asynchronous. Students must have the technology and internet access required to participate in the online sessions.

Hyflex (Formerly “Distance Learning”): Class sessions are held on campus in a physical classroom (originating classroom) that is equipped with specialized videoconferencing equipment. Classroom proceedings are transmitted to other campuses (satellite classrooms) that have specialized videoconferencing equipment and/or to off-campus students who connect using their personal equipment and internet connections.

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 online, hybrid, or hyflex, 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 an online, hybrid, or hyflex .

Propose a New Online, Hybrid, or Hyflex Course

  1. Contact the Office of Curricular Support at [email protected] 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 Instructional Modality Certification

  1. Faculty teaching online, hybrid, or hyflex courses are required to take the Instructional Modality Certification course. Contact [email protected] for more information.
  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 [email protected] for more information.