Course Formats

During the 2020-21 academic year, courses may be offered in a variety of formats:  hybrid, in-person-only, or online-only.

If classes are being held on campus, all courses will be offered in a hybrid format unless otherwise designated.  If classes are not being held on campus, all classes will be offered in an online format and classes that cannot be offered online will be canceled or rescheduled

Hybrid Courses:

  • Hybrid courses are designed to accommodate both in-person and remote learners.  Hybrid courses may also be designed to facilitate social distancing.
  • Must be accessible to students approved to live off-campus for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Some face-to-face contact hours may be replaced with required synchronous and/or asynchronous online instruction.
  • Hybrid courses may include significant projects and activities that occur outside of direct faculty instruction. Hybrid courses must have regular and substantive faculty-student interaction and the combination of in-class, virtual, and out-of-class student work must meet the learning outcomes and the federally mandated minimumof 150 hours.
  • The balance of face-to-face and online activity is set by the instructor and varies by course.  For students who live on campus, faculty can require face-to-face attendance or, to facilitate social distancing, a combination of face-to-face and virtual attendance at designated times. Faculty should include the course meeting schedule in the syllabus.

Other course designations:


  • Classes are held remotely through required synchronous and asynchronous online instruction.
  • Online courses must have regular and substantive faculty-student interaction and the combination of direct instruction and out-of-class student work must meet the learning outcomes and the federally mandated minimumof 150 hours.
  • Faculty members may request to teach on-line in accordance with the temporary college policy regarding online teaching during the pandemic. 


  • Classes are held on campus, and students are expected to attend class in person. In-class work may be supplemented by virtual learning activities.
  • The in-person-only designation is given to courses for which the logistics of teaching online is not feasible.  If courses are not being offered on-campus or it becomes unsafe to offer this course, in-person-only classes that are required for students’ progress in their major will be rescheduled for a later date when classes can be safely held in person. Other in-person-only courses may be rescheduled, canceled, or replaced with another course.


  • The non-hybrid designation is given to courses where the learning objectives cannot be simultaneously met by in-person and remote learners.  If taught in an online format, substantial modifications would be needed to meet course objectives.  Non-hybrid courses may be taught either in-person or online depending on faculty and student needs.

Clemson has developed graphics to illustrate the course formats they are using this fall.  These may help you visualize and choose the formats described above that will work best for your courses.

Online and Hybrid Teaching Pedagogical Resources

For more information on pedagogical strategies for these different teaching formats, please refer to the video recording of the June 23 Course Design session and accompanying slides.

This summer, the CTL is offering weekly sessions to discuss best pedagogical practices for online and hybrid learning. Sessions are mostly Tuesdays from 9-11am and 1-3pm.  Materials are all collected within a Google Drive Folder (Cornell login required).  Zoom links and RSVP form are available there as well.

For assistance with instructional technology, contact Amy Gullen and Matt Zhorne.

To discuss teaching strategies, contact Jen Rouse.

Looking for online materials or film and video options, contact your librarian.

Classroom Technology

 Before classes resume, we will be implementing a few different classroom technology configurations to support hybrid teaching.  The most common will utilize a Meeting Owl camera to connect remote students with the classroom.

The setup will be similar to the one demonstrated at John Brown University.

Tutorial for connecting the Meeting Owl to you computer and setting it up in the classroom.

We will share more information about classroom technology once the rooms are set up and tutorials for using the tech once they have been developed.


Preparation is key to successfully moving all or portions of your class online quickly.

  1. Begin planning as soon as possible. Start to think about contingency plans for class sessions before the need to move online arises.

  2. Work with the ATS and IT to learn more about options and become comfortable with using tools yourself prior to an immediate need. 

  3. Manage expectations both for yourself and for your students. Meeting online is a different kind of experience than meeting in person. Students may not have access to the same tools from their homes that they have on campus. It’s important to evaluate whether or not students will still be able to meet all of the goals you set for the course prior to moving online.

  4. Communicate with your students about when, where, and how you will meet and hold office hours.

  5. Use tools and approaches that are already familiar to help ease the transition online. If you already use Zoom or Google Hangouts/Meet, continue to use that same tool for online class meetings. Moodle and Google Drive may also be familiar tools for collaboration and content sharing for both you and for your students.


Use Cases for Digital Tools



Communicating with Students

The Quick Mail block in each Moodle class page allows you to easily email all or some students in your course.

You can also post in the “Announcements” forum on your course Moodle page. 

You can also make your own Google Contacts label, which can help you share Google Drive files and folders with your class (you can share with a Contacts label just like you would an individual person).

Lecture/Presentation (asynchronous)

Use Zoom to record lectures for your students. Speak directly to your students or narrate a slide presentation and draw directly on the screen to deliver course content. Zoom will record directly to your computer. Upload and share your lectures on Google Drive with a Google Contact Group of your class

You may want to share videos with students by uploading them to Youtube or another video streaming service.  To make them only available to your students, change the privacy setting to Unlisted or Private.

Lecture/Presentation (synchronous)

Use Zoom to stream lectures directly to students. Schedule your Zoom meeting, and invite all students to it. You can speak directly to your students, share a slide presentation, and draw directly on the screen to deliver course content. You can allow students to speak freely, virtually raise their hands, or use the chat box to ask questions and share discussion.

Facilitate class and small group discussion

Use Moodle Forums to start and monitor discussions with students. Different types of forums can facilitate different types of conversation (Learn about the different forum types).

Use Zoom breakout groups to support synchronous small group discussions in addition to full class discussions. 

Virtually bring a guest lecturer

Use Zoom to invite and include someone from outside the Cornell community in a video call or conference. Schedule your Zoom meeting, and invite all students to it along with your guest, or use your laptop to project the meeting to your students in class. 

Hold Virtual Office Hours

Zoom can be a tool used to meet with students virtually

You may want to control when students can enter a Zoom meeting if there are privacy concerns during office hours.  To accomplish this you can use the Waiting Room feature in Zoom or use breakout groups.

Share Course Materials

Upload your materials (PDFs, Word docs, image files) or add links (Youtube videos, web sites) to your course Moodle page. Larger files (video or audio recordings) can be uploaded to Google Drive and shared.  You may want to share videos with students by uploading them to Youtube or another video streaming service.  To make them only available to your students, change the privacy setting to Unlisted or Private.

Assess Student Work

Create a Quiz on Moodle for testing that ranges from multiple choice exams to discursive self-assessments. Create a Moodle Assignment for students to hand-in essays and for instructors to grade and comment on them.  

Google Forms can also be used to create quizzes.

Capture your own writing

Use Zoom and its whiteboard feature to draw directly on the screen.

Create your own document camera.  

Accessibility considerations

For students with extended time on exams/quizzes as an accommodation and you are using a timed assessment such as a quiz or exam on Moodle, the student with the extra time will need to have an exam set up for them to access with the extended time built-in.

For other concerns related to accommodations for students with disabilities, please contact Brooke ( or 4382) or Amy R ( or 4207) to brainstorm solutions.

Accessibility considerations for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH)

Some closed captioning “hacks”:

For synchronous video calls/conferences – Use Google Hangouts/Meet. Anyone requiring or benefiting from closed captions can enable built-in auto-captioning on their machine (requires Chrome or Firefox on laptop/desktop device or the Google Hangouts Meet app for Android or iOS))

Google Slides has an auto-closed captioning option and this can be used while presenting slides in Zoom.


Useful Tools for Digital Meetings


Zoom is an online platform for video and audio conferencing through your computer,  mobile device, and telephones. Cornell recommends Zoom because it uses less bandwidth than many other applications which can provide more reliable audio and video performance.

Getting Started with Zoom

You will receive an email from Zoom when your account is created.

Here are some things to do in advance of your first meeting using Zoom and to share with guests, who are first time Zoom users.

  1. Watch this 1-min video, which shows how to connect to a Zoom meeting. It walks through the basic steps including where to click to enable your microphone and webcam.

  2. In addition, you can join a test meeting to test your internet connection, video and audio before your scheduled Zoom meeting.

Cornell College Zoom Best Practices

Zoom Video Conferencing Instructions: Cornell College Knowledge Base

Tips for setting up your filming location

Zoom Tips and Tricks

Google Meet

Google Meet is another online platform for video and audio conferencing through your computer, mobile device, and telephone. Hangouts Meet is part of Cornell’s Google services. One advantage of Meet is its ability to create live closed captions when you join with either the Chrome or Firefox browsers.  In response to the spread of COVID-19 Google has increased the capabilities of Meet. You can now host up to 250 people. You can also now record your session and save it to Google Drive.

Additional Resources

Quick Guide to Teaching Online: Inside Higher Ed

Going Online in a Hurry: Chronicle

Based on Macalester’s Continued Teaching page.