Methods of Instruction

The following is meant to provide guidance on the variety of terms being used at Columbia to define online and hybrid learning for the 2020-21 academic year.

Courses that utilize a traditional, face-to-face format, with no or minimal digital content (up to 20% of contact hours). In this format, both the instructor and the students are in the classroom.

For Fall 2020, this modality is available only to courses with fewer than 50 students. The class needs a physical classroom that will have the capacity to accommodate all enrolled students with the required physical distancing. In-person classes should be prepared to allow students to join remotely since some students will not be able to return and there may be more than the usual number of absences (e.g. students who are in isolation or quarantine, or who are late arriving on campus because of visa delays).

Courses that are primarily digital/online–80% or more of contact hours are online using practices that effectively engage learners, faculty, peers and content

Courses that include both teaching in-person and teaching on-line as part of the fundamental course design. As a general guide, digital content can range between 20% and 80% of the course contact hours. Faculty members planning to offer a hybrid course should add to the syllabus the kinds and rough frequency of in-person and on-line course components students can expect.

There are several kinds of courses that fall into the hybrid category. Among other models, these include courses where:

  • In-person attendance will always be less than the full enrollment to enable required physical distancing, with all other students participating remotely in real time, enabled by appropriate classroom technology.
  • Classes will be online for some sessions, but with in-person meetings for subsets of students at other times–e.g., a lecture with some meetings in-person and some on-line or a lecture that is fully online but the discussion sections are offered in-person.

Courses that are hybrid flexible or “HyFlex” are courses that combine in-person and online learning with each class session offered in-person, synchronously online, and asynchronously online. In order for this modality to be utilized, classrooms must be equipped with the appropriate technology.

Note: Instructors should utilize the in-person, online and hybrid categories for the purposes of indicating to the registrar their method of instruction.

It is important to note that any technology implemented to support the learning experience should be carefully and thoughtfully selected with a plan to integrate it effectively into the course. The CTL provides resources and training to support the above modalities – please continue to visit the CTL website for access to resources and workshops.