Mode of Instruction

University designations for mode of instruction

CUNY makes a three-way distinction in mode of instruction for courses offered university-wide. A course may be designated as in-person, hybrid, or online.

P: In-Person

In an In-Person class, all required class meetings occur on campus, during scheduled class meeting times. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and student-instructor). An In-Person class where material is provided online, via a learning management system or website, does not displace any of the required contact hours that would normally occur in a scheduled In-Person class. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus. All In-Person class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes.

H: Hybrid

In a Hybrid class, online contact hours (synchronous* or asynchronous**) displaces some portion of the required contact hours that would normally take place in a scheduled in-person (face-to-face) class. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and student-instructor). A hybrid class is designed to integrate face-to-face and online activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate one another, instead of treating the online component as an add-on or duplicate of what is taught in the classroom. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus. All In-person and synchronous online class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes for students.

O: Online

In an Online class (synchronous* or asynchronous**), all required contact hours are online. Contact includes instruction, learning activities, and interactions (both student-student and/or student-instructor). All the class work, examinations, quizzes, writing assignments, lab work, etc. are fully online. All Synchronous class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes for students.


*Synchronous: Synchronous classes meetings resemble traditional on-campus In-Person classes in that students must be (virtually) present at the same time. Though they are conducted virtually, synchronous classes meet in real-time. Students must commit to scheduled class times and sign onto their virtual learning platform on schedule. During these classes, students will engage with the instruction during online lessons and presentations and even have virtual class discussions. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus. All Synchronous class meeting days/times must be listed in the schedule of classes for students. Per best practices, instructors should make effective use of learning management systems for the posting of class materials and submission of class assignments.

**Asynchronous: Asynchronous class meetings do not require you to log in to your virtual classroom at a specified time. Students do not have to follow a strict schedule to engage in live classes or discussions, and the only requirement regarding when they turn in their work is the assignment deadline, not an arbitrary timeline. Assignment deadlines and exams days/times are maintained and included on the class syllabus. Per best practices, instructors should create non-mandatory opportunities for live interactions with and among students.


Why is this important?

The accurate designation of a course's mode of instruction in CUNYfirst is important for many reasons, including the following:

  • Students will know when they register what kind of course they are signing up for, and can make the necessary preparations, which could include setting up email, Blackboard, and other accounts, and organizing their calendar (in the case of courses that replace scheduled time with online activities).

  • Departments, and the college at large, can use mode of instruction data for assessment purposes, and to advocate for increased support and resources to teach with technology.

  • The instructor will have official recognition for incorporating technology into the course.


How is mode of instruction selected for a course in CUNYfirst?

In CUNYfirst, mode of instruction is selected for each section on the Basic Data tab, in the "Class Sections" section, in the Instruction Mode selection box.

In addition, synchronous courses should use OL-01 as the facility assignment (room), and asynchronous courses should use OL-02 as the facility assignment (room).

In addition, we strongly recommend using "Class Notes" (in the "Notes" tab for a course; instructions) to add details about the course's online components, for example:

  • what learning management system the course will use (Blackboard or Google Classroom)

  • whether the course will use special software (for example: Adobe Creative Cloud, CUNY Virtual Desktop, etc.)

  • if the course will have synchronous meetings, and if so, the platform for these (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex)

  • whether the course requires any subscriptions to materials or platforms

How do the new mode of instruction designations compare to the previous ones?