Courses and Instruction Methods

Teaching and learning will include online, hybrid, HyFlex and in-person options. These modalities were developed in ways that will achieve academic excellence, meet student learning outcomes and support the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.

Course delivery

Course delivery assures we meet student learning outcomes while attending to the health and safety of our faculty and students and will accommodate physical distancing and low classroom density recommendations. Because physical distancing may not easily be achieved in traditional classroom settings, academic units must determine if learning outcomes could be met in an online format or if the learning outcomes genuinely require access to facilities that otherwise cannot be replicated or simulated in such a way as to ensure expected student learning within the course or discipline.

Thus, on-campus courses will include online, hybrid, HyFlex and face-to-face modalities. This approach is designed to provide the appropriate range of high-quality courses delivered in the modalities to meet diverse student needs and afford ongoing progress to academic goals and graduation.

Academic units have prepared to teach the majority of courses online. As student data suggests undergraduate students prefer synchronous courses (those with a designated meeting time), units indicate this will be the primary online modality. Asynchronous formats are also among our offerings especially for programs designed to serve working adults, part-time students,  or students residing in other time zones. Some programs will place thoughtful, high-quality, hybrid/HyFlex courses strategically throughout the curriculum. The intent is to offer students seeking face-to-face academic experiences opportunities for engagement.

When learning outcomes can only be achieved with face-to-face instruction, these components will be delivered appropriately.

Faculty should continue to work with their unit heads for teaching load assignments.

UC defines course delivery (modality) and other campus experiences in the following ways.

Face-to-face / in-person

Traditional face-to-face or in-person teaching and learning requires participants to be in the same physical location at the same time. Face-to-face courses must allow for physical distancing and other health-promoting behaviors. Guidance on classroom capacity and spacing is available through UC Planning, Design and Construction.


HyFlex instruction is defined as an instructor teaching in-person while each individual student freely makes a decision from one day to the next as to whether to participate online or in-person. HyFlex instruction is encouraged to create limited face-to-face experiences for undergraduates on campus. These must be developed with social distancing requirements, a way for students to elect to participate only online, and a plan for a rapid conversion to wholly online if the situation should require such.


Hybrid classes have some required in-person learning, with other learning online. Students will be required to attend part of the class in-person. Other coursework will be completed online.


Online courses and experiences are conducted in a completely digital manner. Faculty are encouraged to prepare to teach courses online using the “Excellence Online at UC” digital framework. Synchronous components and plans for students in alternative time zones are preferred.

Excellence online

Whatever the planned modality for delivering upcoming courses – whether face-to-face, hybrid or HyFlex – all faculty are encouraged to prepare to teach courses online, with synchronous components and plans for students in alternative time zones preferred.

This would allow for maximum flexibility regardless of various scenarios that might occur during the 2020-21 academic year.

As a first step, all courses should prepare a “digital backbone” in Canvas.

To facilitate efforts, UC Online, Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, the Faculty Enrichment Center, and IT@UC collaboratively developed a roadmap for all faculty with tools for planning and creating this digital backbone for online excellence. These “Excellence Online at UC” resources reside in a Canvas course where they can be easily accessed and copied, and where they demonstrate a model for how Canvas can be used to deploy digital content to ensure teaching continuity regardless of the changing requirements that public health might require at any point in the 2020-21 academic year.  

UC has over 20 years of experience with online teaching and learning. The Excellence Online site distills the key elements of that legacy of excellence into several focus areas to help faculty prepare and teach an excellent online course. There are four in-depth topic areas:

  1. Planning for Excellence Online
  2. Online teaching and delivery
  3. University wellness
  4. Instructional technologies

The Excellence Online tools provide guidance for faculty to prepare for teaching online. The digital backbone will also make it easier for faculty teaching the limited face-to-face courses to move fully online if that becomes necessary during the term.


These specific services and delivery modes will vary by colleges and units. Students will receive information directly from their advising units. In many cases, fully online schedules may be an option for students not wishing to participate in face-to-face instruction. Students should work directly with their academic advisor or course instructor to identify alternative course or assignment options.

Distance learning

UC offers two types of academic programs for both undergraduate and graduate students: traditional and distance learning. Students who apply to and are accepted to a traditional program may take face-to-face, hybrid, HyFlex and online classes based on availability. Sometimes, students matriculated in a traditional academic program may take all online classes during a given semester. Those students are still defined as traditional students because of the academic program in which they are matriculated. Students who apply to and are accepted into an Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE)-approved distance learning program may not register for in-person, hybrid or HyFlex courses. Their curriculum consists of entirely online instruction.