Getting into the Groove for a Variety of Class Types
Did you know that Weber State University offers a variety of course delivery types? Some of these are new due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic and some of them have been offered since the beginning. These types range from online classes, to flex classes, to face-to-face classes, and so on. As we are coming back to school this Fall 2021, four different course delivery options will be available in order to cater to all types of students. It can be difficult with all of these options to choose what class type would work best for you. Today, I am going to help guide you through what each class type might look like and what to expect from these class types to help you decide what type is best for you and your schedule.
Synchronous VS Asynchronous
The first important thing for you to understand when looking at all of these different class types is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous means meeting at a set time. For example, if you sign up for a face-to-face class you will be given a set time and place to attend class. This set time and place makes up the synchronous portion of the class. You will need to be sure that you have availability in your schedule to attend class at the set time. By attending class you will be able to participate with your professor and fellow classmates in real-time.
Asynchronous means that instruction and assignments can be completed at your own leisure at any time of the day. With an asynchronous class, you will not be given a particular time to show up and participate in-class lectures. For example, if you are taking an online class, there is not a set time to meet with your professor and classmates. However, there still will be due dates for when you must have your work completed. In an asynchronous class, you are required to create your own timeline for getting your work done. It is important to plan ahead for these types of classes so that you are able to complete your work on time.
For Fall 2021, Weber State has announced that they will be offering four different types of classes. These are Face to Face, Hybrid, Online, and Virtual. These courses will be taught at the WSU campuses (Ogden, Davis), at the extension sites (Farmington Station, West Center, Morgan) and online.
Face to Face
Face to face is the type of course delivery I think we are all the most familiar with. Face-to-face classes are synchronous, meaning that you are given a time and place when you will meet to receive instruction from your professor with your fellow classmates. We have all mostly participated in this type of class since elementary school. You show up, you participate in the lessons that your teacher has prepared for you, and then you go home and do any additional work that has been assigned to you.
In face-to-face classes, I love being able to directly interact with both my professor and my fellow classmates. I feel as if I get the most out of my learning experience because I am not distracted by any outside factors. When I am in class, I am completely focused on the subject that is being taught. I also love that when I have questions they can be answered instantaneously by the professor rather than having to wait for a reply. Finally, I believe that it is easiest to form relationships with your fellow classmates in face-to-face classes. In these classes, you have the opportunity to have small talk conversations when entering and exiting the classroom. Having these one-on-one private conversations is so important for real relationship building. In-person classes do however take dedication, as you have to get yourself to a certain place at a particular time.
Hybrid is one of the newer formats of the four class types. Hybrid classes take advantage of all types of classes and add them into one class. Hybrid classes can use any combination of face-to-face synchronous, virtual synchronous, and online asynchronous in their teaching. In other words, some days you might meet face to face at a specific time and other days you will meet up virtually at a specific time, and other days all of your work will be completed on your own time online. When, where, and how often you will be meeting is up to the professor. The best way to understand these classes is to read your syllabus and listen to your professor’s instructions. They will help you to navigate this mashed-up type of class. Hybrid classes can be good for students who would like a combination of different class experiences. Hybrid courses can give students some of the flexibility of asynchronous work as well as some of the benefits of spending time in the classroom with fellow classmates.
Online classes are asynchronous, meaning there is no set time or place where students are to attend lectures and work on class material. Students get to do their work on their own timeline as long as the work gets done by the assigned due date.
This type of class is good for students who have a schedule that does not allow for synchronous classes. For example, a student could have a work schedule that doesn’t conform with virtual or face-to-face class times. These students could apply for online classes and do their work when they are available. This type of class also works for students who do not live near campus. These classes could be taken from any place in the world as students do not have to travel to campus to participate in the class.
Online classes are great for flexibility because they can be worked on at any time from any place. It can also be nice to bring some variety into your learning experience by taking some face-to-face classes and some online classes. I would warn you to be careful not to forget that your online classes exist. It can sometimes be easy to forget that you need to do your online classwork because you are not going into class on a consistent basis. One way to avoid forgetting your class is to set up a consistent time that you will work on your online classes. Treat it just like your synchronous classes, and push yourself to work on the class at the same time every week just like you do your other classes. I would also recommend reaching out to your professor and fellow online classmates. It can be a bit more difficult to connect with these students as you are not meeting with them weekly. However, you can always reach out to them through email and Canvas chat if you need help or just want to connect.
Virtual classes are similar to face-to-face classes in that they are synchronous, meaning they are held at a particular time. However, the difference is these classes are held over a virtual conferencing platform such as Zoom. These classes are great for students who are not comfortable coming onto campus or for students who do not live near campus and struggle to get on campus for classes.
During the stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom classes were a must! I really enjoyed all of the Zoom classes I was able to take. Having all of my classes virtual even gave me the opportunity to save money by moving back home to St. George while still being able to attend my classes. I like virtual classes a bit more than online classes because of the personal touch. In a Zoom class, you have the opportunity to get to know your professor and fellow classmates more than in an asynchronous online class.
What class type you choose to take is completely up to you! Take a look at your life schedule and find the types of classes that fit best into your lifestyle. I recommend giving the different class types a try and finding which type works best for your schedule and your learning style. I would also let you know that it is great to have all of the course delivery options, but not all classes work well with all delivery options. Some classes are too complex to be understood only through an online format, whereas other classes work well with the online learning format. If you feel like the class you are taking is too hard or too easy, consider taking it in a different delivery and see what a difference it can make.
Weber State has some awesome resources telling you all about these different course delivery types and gives some more information on what you can expect from each type. If you would like to learn more about this topic visit course delivery.
Regardless of what format you choose, we're here to help you get through your classes. You can meet with us virtually or face to face!
Until next time! XOXO - Kat
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