Virtual Instruction Guidelines
The Office of the Registrar works closely with academic departments to provide the most accurate information in the quarterly class schedule. Cal Poly has six modalities of instruction ranging from in-person to fully online. Virtual instruction may look different based on course requirements. Courses that are approved for virtual instruction must go through a formal review process. Consult the courses approved for online delivery website for the list of approved courses. Questions related to status of a proposal may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses should be scheduled in one of the following six modalities:
- 1. Synchronous (SM) - Fully online with established meeting days and times
- This section is taught in a synchronous format. Required meeting days and times are listed in the class schedule.
- 2. Asynchronous (AM) - Fully online with no established meeting days or times
- This section is taught in an asynchronous or student self-guided format. There are no set meeting days or times.
- 3. Sync/Asyn Hybrid (SA) - Fully online with both synchronous and asynchronous meetings
- This course has synchronous and asynchronous requirements. Days and times for the synchronous portion are listed. The asynchronous portion will be completed in a student self-guided format.
- 4. In Person (P)
- In-Person on or off campus meetings.
- 5. In Person/Sync Hybrid (PS) - Includes in-person and online synchronous meetings
- This is an In-Person/Synchronous Hybrid section. Course content is delivered both in person and online. Required meeting days and times are listed in the class schedule.
- 6. In Person/Async Hybrid (PA) - Includes in-person and online asynchronous meetings
- This is an In-Person/Asynchronous Hybrid section. Course content is delivered both in person and online. Required in-person meeting days and times are listed in the class schedule. Additional time will be required in a student self-guided format.
- *For sections that only meet for a portion of the term and do not have established dates until the start of classes, the instructor must email students with detailed requirements for the course.
The following guidelines have been established so students have a similar experience during the registration process and are able to easily understand requirements listed in the class schedule:
A change to modality after the class schedule is published will require cancellation of the course. A new section will be created. The department is required to work with students who are dropped from the original section. It is important to proof modality during the proofing phase for the term to avoid negative impact on students.
An instructor may elect to offer a course in multiple modalities. Each must be approved through the formal review process. A separate section should be set up for each modality of instruction. If requesting an in-person section, the class will only be assigned a lecture space to fulfill the enrollment capacity for students registered in person. A room will not be assigned for the total anticipated enrollment of the sections so students may opt how they choose to attend on a weekly basis. Students in a virtual section must remain virtual for the duration of the term. Assigning a larger facility without defined in-person meeting numbers negatively impacts use of resources and the Office of the Registrar's ability to meet student demand in other classes.
ME 123-01 (Lecture) in person. Enrollment cap 24.
ME 123-02 (Lecture) synchronous. Enrollment cap 24.
In the example above, the department may offer these two sections at the same time with the same instructor, one in a virtual format (synchronous) and one in person. However, the two sections will only be assigned a space large enough for the students registered as in person. Synchronous students must remain virtual for the duration of the term, including during exams. Note that for final reporting, the two sections will be identified as one section. If adjustments are needed for workload, the department must work directly with their dean's office.
Courses with content delivered in a virtual format must be approved through the formal review process.
A subset of courses that are offered in person may require students to meet based on arrangement with the instructor for all or a portion of the term. These courses often involve field trips, research, research papers, field work, or other requirements. A department electing to schedule a section with Time by Arrangement (TBA) must indicate the number of contact hours that are by arrangement on a weekly basis in the "Comments" section in CourseLeaf CLSS. This will allow the Office of the Registrar to properly code the course for accurate reporting to the Chancellor's Office.
Independent study courses do not have published contact hours. Work is to be completed based on agreement with the instructor. The class schedule should list any required meeting days and times for in-person regular requirements. Final exam times are not reserved for Independent Study courses.
The final exam schedule is made available prior to student registration. Any deviations to published exam times for in-person or synchronous sections must be made in the form of request for common or alternate exams. Refer to Academic Programs and Planning Final Assessment for additional information on common or alternate exams.
Below is a brief overview of how modality of instruction should be paired with exam scheduling:
A. Synchronous (SM)
Sections offered in Synchronous format will follow the published meeting days and times for in-person class offerings. Refer to the final exam calendar for the term.
B. Asynchronous (AM)
Final exams for sections taught in an asynchronous format will be arranged and announced by the instructor. Students should be notified of final exam requirements in the course syllabus.
If a synchronous final must be given, faculty can choose to give said final on the Saturday preceding finals week using a standard final exam time block (7:10-10 AM, 10:10-1:00 PM, 1:10-4 PM, or 4:10-7:00 PM) or in one of the 7:10-10:00 PM time slots M, T, W, or R of finals week.
If a student has a time conflict between a final for a synchronous or in-person course and an asynchronous course, the instructor of the asynchronous course must offer the student an alternate time to take the final exam.
C. In Person (P)
Sections offered in person will follow the published meeting days and times for in-person class offerings. Refer to the final exam calendar for the term. Common or alternate exams should be requested no later then the eighth week of the term. Likewise, changes to meeting locations should be requested no later than the eighth week of the term. This allows students adequate planning time in preparation for exams.
D. In Person/Sync Hybrid (PS)
Sections offered in person with synchronous meetings should identify in CLSS that a final exam room will be needed. Because the meeting pattern will be split, the Office of the Registrar must confirm the time pattern and facility are available prior to announcement of the final exam. Confirmation of room assignment will be provided prior to the eighth week of the term.
E. In Person/Async Hybrid (PA)
Sections offered in person with asynchronous meetings should identify in CLSS that a final exam room will be needed. Because the meeting pattern will be split, the Office of the Registrar must confirm the time pattern and facility are available prior to announcement of the location of the final exam. Confirmation of room assignment will be provided prior to the eighth week of the term.
F. Sync/Async Hybrid (SA)
Sections offered in a synchronous/asynchronous format will follow the published meeting days and times for in-person class offerings. Refer to the final exam calendar for the term. Because a split meeting pattern will be used, the instructor is responsible for working to ensure student conflicts do not exist with other classes or obligations. Final exam day and time should be announced in the course syllabus.
My class section is online, but midterm and/or final exams are in person
A section that meets in person for midterms and/or final exams but with virtual class meetings must be approved for In Person/Synchronous or In Person/Asynchronous delivery. The weekly class meetings will be scheduled in either synchronous or asynchronous format.
Class note #1523: "(All class meetings are held in an online format with the exception of midterms and/or final exams. Instructor will provide required meeting days and times for in-person exams.)", should be used in the class schedule. If a more specific note is necessary, please email email@example.com.
Meeting days for exams should not be listed in the class schedule. These oftentimes are subject to change and lead to incorrect information. The instructor should email students with required in-person exam days and times. A formal request for use of space should be sent to the Office of the Registrar to secure a meeting location.
My class section is in person, but my meeting days are not set until students register
A subset of courses are delivered in person, but the instructor does not establish the required meeting days or times until polling enrolled students. These are often specific cohorts of students or research courses.
A section that meets in person but does not have established meeting days and/or times until availability is determined with enrolled students at the start of the term should be set up as In Person with class note #1603: "(Faculty advisor/instructor to provide class location information or specifics on class meeting requirements.)". The instructor should communicate all in-person requirements to students in a timely manner. If a more specific note is necessary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.