Online Learning: Faculty

What are the advantages of teaching online?

Hostos faculty member at a professional development event

Online courses allow instruction to be available to a broader range of students. Both faculty and students have the flexibility of accessing course content off campus as long as they have an internet connection.

Methods used in a conventional classroom often have a digital equivalent. For example, faculty lectures can be captured on video, and Q&A sessions can be facilitated in an online forum.

Online instruction does not supplant the need for an effective educator. This is why faculty and instructional designers consider how to use the digital tools available to design effective and challenging online courses for a range of student ability.

Faculty can  leverage technology to enhance student engagement by using tools designed to improve communication, collaboration and work habits. Integrating multimedia resources is a way to supplement textbooks and deepen understanding.  Students can reach out to peers for support by posting questions at any time of day. In hybrid courses, faculty maximize the value of time spent together in a classroom by asking students to review materials and complete exercises online prior to class.

Students are required to engage with content with more autonomy, and to demonstrate a substantial degree of self-motivation in order to meet the learning objectives of a course.

In designing an online course, faculty can consider the ways in which they can increase and sustain student motivation. Examples include:

  • emphasizing new ways to interact with each other and the course content,
  • helping students identify meaningful problems,
  • offering some level of choice in their learning process.

What are the different modalities for teaching online?

Online Learning at Hostos Community College refers to courses that are delivered as either online or hybrid (partly online). These are the official designations for online instruction as defined by CUNY.

In a hybrid course, instruction and course content are presented through both online and face-to-face meetings in a classroom. Students participate in 33-67% of course activities online by logging into Blackboard on their own time. In many hybrid courses, instructors meet with students face-to-face in a classroom just once a week, and expect students to access the rest of the course content on Blackboard.

In a fully online course, all course content is delivered on Blackboard and all class activities take place online. Students are expected to complete all readings, assignments, tests, and online discussions on Blackboard.

Course activities may be asynchronous and/or synchronous. In synchronous activities, students are expected to be present at the same time on Blackboard (for a live video meeting with the instructor, for example.) In asynchronous activities, students are not required to log in to the virtual classroom at a specified time. Students do not have to follow a strict schedule, and the only requirement regarding when they turn in their work is the assignment deadline, which are maintained and included on the class syllabus.

Faculty choose the modality that best suits the demands of their course.

The Office of Educational Technology at Hostos Community College supports faculty in developing online courses by offering:

  • Road Map to Teaching Innovation (a set of self-paced Blackboard courses)
  • Hands-on training
  • Mentoring by fellow faculty
  • One-on-one support with Blackboard7

Faculty who are creating online courses for the first time at Hostos are encouraged to take part in the Online Learning Initiative. Other faculty can create courses on Blackboard on their own if they choose but must still have their courses approved by their Department Chair and the EdTech Leadership Council (ETLC).

If you have questions about joining the Online Learning Initiative, please stop by the Office of Educational Technology in C-559. You can also call (718) 319-7915 or e-mail


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