This mode of instruction relies less on real-time interactions, and more on planned activities such as lectures, assignments, group work, etc. Students typically access the materials at a time of their choosing in the timeframe you specify.
Most online courses (not to be confused with in-person courses that shifted to remote instruction in response to emergency) offered by UCSC are primarily asynchronous, but include regular synchronous class meetings, office hours, and sections (when there are Teaching Assistants). This model is closer to what is thought of as a “hybrid” course, which balances the best elements of asynchronous online learning with the hands-on classroom experience.
IMMEDIACY & BANDWIDTH
Bandwidth is just what you expect, and it’s measured by the maximum rate of data transfer of an internet connection. For those of us living at or working on a university campus, we enjoy the benefit of a very high bandwidth internet connection. For students studying from home, the same may not be true. Using high-bandwidth technologies, while gaining immediacy through them, may exclude some students from being able to fully participate. It’s important for you to consider how this may impact the success of these students, as well as their sense of belonging, in your course.
High Bandwidth/Low Immediacy (yellow)
Yellow. Don’t underestimate this quadrant. Yes, it is high bandwidth, and yes it is low immediacy. However, this is where pre-recorded video or audio lectures and demonstrations are captured. With flexibility built into your course, students with low bandwidth can choose times of the day to watch or download your lectures. (We’ll talk about the tools to create pre-recorded materials later on.) We’ll come back to this in a later module, but for pre-recorded video, keep things short (no more than 15 minutes) and sequence your instruction over multiple videos that build upon each other.
High Bandwidth/High Immediacy (red)
Red. This quadrant is intentionally red. You should proceed with caution and consideration for your students' circumstances. Using Zoom for synchronous classes or office hours will provide some of the highest opportunities for immediacy in an online course, but they are the most inflexible and bandwidth-intensive activities that students can be asked to do. Zoom also poses the most challenges for accessibility and equity; live captioning is not present (unless DRC-approved with an accommodation), and some students may not have the required bandwidth, quiet home study space, or privacy to fully engage in synchronous Zoom classes. Students who do not have access to a laptop can be directed to Slug Support, which will provide one to them free of cost.
Low Bandwidth/Low Immediacy (green)
Green. The standards of instruction while teaching online or in-person. These aren’t flashy, but they are necessary and effective ways to teach and communicate with students. Mike Caulfield offers a variety of green quadrant approaches in his Dirt-Simple Online course design guide.
Low Bandwidth/High Immediacy (blue)
Shared Google Docs
Blue. These are standards of online teaching and learning. Collaborative documents, in particular, have a function in all courses, even if that’s just as a running list of FAQs that are compiled in a Google Doc. Keep in mind, however, that students in China may not be able to access Google platforms like Google Docs and YouTube. Slack is a popular and free software for group communications that can allow students to communicate quickly without the need for scheduling their day around a synchronous class session. Hypothes.is is a new tool that integrates with Canvas and allows students to collaboratively annotate PDFs and websites in their web browser.
There are tradeoffs in each quadrant, and most courses combine approaches using methods from different categories. We encourage you to be imaginative in considering how each week’s assignments and activities can fit into the green quadrant. This category, which Stanford calls the “under-appreciated workhorses,” provides foundational tools (file sharing for readings and data, email, and discussion boards) that can be used to create fantastic courses. Using them also ensures that you are creating an inclusive and effective environment for learning. Finally, starting from the lower-left quadrant (green), will allow you to be more intentional and informed as you choose from the other quadrants.