Online Learning at U of T

A range of resources are available for faculty involved in the design, development and teaching of digital learning components in face-to-face classes, hybrid formats or fully online courses. Support is available through CTSI, as well as the Digital Learning Innovation portfolio within Information Technology Services (ITS).

Online Learning Terms Defined

A range of course delivery modes have been defined by the university to support governance processes and also for student communication to support course registration in ACORN.

An online course is designed such that all of the instructional interaction occurs without the student and instructor being in the same physical location. Assessments for online courses are conducted or submitted online, with the possible exception of final or interim assessment requiring attendance on campus no more than once per session. There are two types of online course delivery modes defined within the ACORN/ROSI system:

Online synchronous meeting sections require online attendance at a specific time for some or all activities. Attendance at a specific location is not required with the exception of final or interim assessments, which may require attendance at a specific physical location.

Online asynchronous meeting sections do not require attendance at a specific time or location for any activities, with the exception of final or interim assessments, which may require attendance at a specific time and specific physical location.

A hybrid course signals that a mix of in-person and online is expected (with a floor and a ceiling for the amount of online activity). Normally, a course is considered hybrid if roughly between 1/3 to 2/3 of scheduled class time is replaced by online activities. Exams or other academic assessments may require attendance at a specific physical location.

Other digital learning strategies and course formats

An inverted classroom, also known as the “flipped” model, does not reduce face-to-face class time. Instead, the course is enhanced with additional digital resources such as video lectures, quizzes or other activities that students access prior to class. This allows for design of active learning and hands-on activities to be incorporated into the classroom time. The term “flipped” refers to the idea that video lectures might be provided outside of classroom time, and what would have been homework assignments completed during class.

Use of lecture capture, also known as “web option,” is intended to provide enhanced flexibility with respect to how and when students access lectures. Course lectures are recorded, then posted online for students in the course to watch at a later point in time. Courses in which students have the option of watching a video recording to provide flexibility is considered an in-person course by design and by governance.

A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at broad participation targeting a global audience. Access to direct instructor and learner feedback is not anticipated and it should be noted that University of Toronto MOOCs are not for credit. The University of Toronto has partnered with two organizations providing MOOC platforms, Coursera and EdX, as described on the Open UToronto web site. Currently some of our MOOC content is being repurposed in conjunction with selected University of Toronto degree program courses through use of the inverted classroom or hybrid models.

Support Resources

Digital Learning Innovation (DLI)

Through DLI, support is available for online and hybrid course development, as well as special project work including eProctoring, virtual reality, MOOCs, open educational resources and other emergent learning technologies.

CTSI Support

Instructors are welcome to contact CTSI for assistance with any of the following services related to online learning:

  • Quercus set-up and the use of platforms available within the U of T Academic Toolbox
  • Formative feedback on an online course designed in Quercus
  • Observation of a synchronous online class meeting to receive formative feedback on online teaching
  • Pedagogical considerations related to effective use of instructional technology
  • Advice regarding online assignment and assessment design
  • Information on relevant academic policies

Other Information Resources

  • Quercus: Instructions on how to use Quercus tools and other online tools as well as contact information for support.
  • Other Campus Help Contacts: Listing of divisional instructional technology staff who may provide support for Quercus and other online tools.
  • ESC – Enterprise Service Centre: ITS Services including passwords, security, Quercus support and more

Teaching Assistants' Training Program

For information on graduate student and Teaching Assistant professional development and job training, please visit the TATP for resources, events and more.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Enroll in the SoTL Hub to access resources, share ideas and engage with your U of T community.

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