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 that doesn’t have any regular meetings or face-to-face meetings on campus.

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 arrange optional online office hours, labs, or review sessions throughout the academic term.

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 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.

Are asynchronous courses self-study?


In asynchronous courses, instructors provide course materials online 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. To support your learning of the course materials online and to complement assigned active learning activities, your instructor may also arrange optional online office hours, labs, or review sessions throughout the academic term.

Are asynchronous courses self-paced?


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.

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

No, but they may seem like they do.

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 class time and out-of-class effort are combined, so a “session” in an asynchronous course may seem to take considerably longer than a “session” in other formats, but that’s just because it includes the time allocated to homework and preparation. Your instructor will determine how the readings, activities, and tasks of an asynchronous course meet these criteria.

Your total time and effort is the same here 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.