Asynchronous FAQs

Student wearing mask studying

The following answers to FAQs serve as a starting point for all Albers courses. You should use these to guide your initial preparations for online class sessions. Instructors will make the final determination to clarify these and other course-specific policies in their course syllabi.

What is an asynchronous course?

It’s a course with all instruction delivered online without any regular or face-to-face meetings.

Seattle University defines an asynchronous online course as one where all instruction is delivered asynchronously online without any scheduled meeting times involving the whole class with the instructor. Just as with other course formats, asynchronous online courses provide rich learning experiences with a high number of interactions between you and your instructor and between you and other students in the course.

Do asynchronous sessions have any meetings?

They may, but there won’t be regularly scheduled meetings involving the whole class.

There are no face-to-face meetings on campus and no meetings involving the whole class with the instructor. You may, however, be asked to arrange periodic online meetings to interact with your instructor or with other members of a project team. Your instructor may also offer optional online office hours or appointment times and arrange for review sessions throughout the academic term.

Successful students report that meeting with an instructor during office hours or by appointment provides important opportunities to seek clarifying information, ask questions, or check in. Please check with your instructor or the syllabus about how best to arrange these meetings.

Some instructors may choose to record online review sessions. Other instructors may choose not to record, and in such cases, those instructors may upload onto Canvas other materials that may be useful but not replace review session activities.

Do I need to have my webcam on and mic ready for assignments & interactions?

Yes, but troubleshoot any specific concerns about this with your instructor in advance so that you can meet course objectives and practice professional skills.

We're members of a shared community of learning, and this means that we're fully present for one another through visible and vocal participation. You’ll need voice to interact in real time with your instructor and your classmates and to participate and small-group activities. And showing your face in these meetings helps build community, enables greater communication, and demonstrates professional courtesy.

Requiring meeting participants to share video is a complex issue. If you have any specific concerns about sharing your video feed, please discuss those concerns with your instructor. If you would like to protect your privacy during a recorded portion of any online meeting, you can turn your camera off, use a pseudonym, and post private questions to the instructor in the chat during the recording. Of course, any one of us can suffer an occasional technology fail, but we make apologies and have a plan for fixing it before the next meeting. For important meetings in a professional setting (clients, investors, etc.), we even have a backup plan. Look for what in the course might be equivalent (midterm exam? final exam? day when you're presenting?) and consider early on what your backup plan might be.

Webcams and mics are often sold as a single piece of equipment and start around $30. The University Library is loaning laptops with webcams and mics, as well as internet hotspots, to qualifying students free of charge. Another alternative is to join Zoom with one device (e.g., desktop) to hear the session audio, and then join Zoom with another device (e.g., a smartphone with a functioning camera and mic) to turn on your video and audio. Consider practicing this alternative ahead of time

What do meaningful interactions look like in asynchronous courses?

Asynchronous courses use many tools to create a shared learning community.

Your instructor may assign coursework that you’re required to complete independently. Your instructor may also choose to assign coursework that requires you to interact with your instructor and coordinate with other classmates as members of a team to complete tasks.

Your instructor may, among other things, require you to provide thoughtful, edifying, and constructive contributions to shared wiki pages, discussion boards, peer reviews, or collaboration tools for you to interact with your classmates on course topics and materials.

What is similar between room meetings and Zoom meetings?

How you conduct yourself and develop your professionalism.

In class, you'd be dressed appropriately and sitting at a table or desk. You'd also refrain from distractions such as other electronics, non-course activities, or food. In class, you’d also raise any individual concerns with your instructor well in advance. It's the same in Zoom meetings. And the revised Code of Student Conduct applies to University-related online and virtual programs and activities.

Many companies are looking to hire graduates who can be professional and focused in an online setting, so the etiquette practiced here contributes to your professional formation. In an effort to promote a shared learning experience, instructors may address concerns about disruptive or distracted students in Zoom meetings just as they would in a face-to-face class.

Are asynchronous courses self-study?

No.

Instructors provide course materials online with accompanying milestones or deadlines for you to complete at times that suit your personal weekly schedule. These course materials may include reading assignments, video lectures, online exercises or homework, discussion posts and comments, and so on. These course materials may also include active learning activities, tasks or projects that require you to collaborate with classmates as part of a team.

Successful students have recognized that regularly studying with a small group dramatically helped them on their assignments. Clarify with the instructor which assignments allow for collaboration.

Are asynchronous courses self-paced?

No.

Like most face-to-face and synchronous online courses, asynchronous courses may have content sequencing and milestones, as well as material that’s released on a particular date. Your instructor may set periodic deadlines for activities, tasks, and graded assignments.

Successful students have recognized that blocking regular weekly study periods dramatically helped them on their assignments and their exams. As is long-standing practice, some instructors may become concerned about observable inactivity or missing assignments. In such cases, your instructor may contact you and, absent a response, may notify the University. If you fall behind, please contact your instructor.

Do asynchronous courses require more time and effort than other course formats?

No, but they may seem like they do.

Your total time and effort is the same for asynchronous courses as in other course formats. The only difference is that, with greater control over when you work on weekly course material provided by your instructor, you’ll also have greater responsibility for being diligent in engaging with and preparing the material thoughtfully and reflectively.

All courses at Seattle University are based on a measure of “structured time.” Traditionally, in in-person courses, structured time includes time in a physical classroom plus time working on reading and other assignments outside of the classroom. A five-credit class is usually 850 minutes of structured time per week (250 minutes of class time and up to 600 minutes of out-of-class effort). A three-credit class is usually 510 minutes of structured time per week (150 minutes of class time and up to 360 minutes of out-of-class effort).

In an asynchronous course, the structured time is largely out-of-class effort. Your instructor will determine how the readings, activities, and tasks of an asynchronous course meet the criteria for total structured time per week.