Online Learning: Faculty

What are the advantages of teaching online?

Online courses allow instruction to be available to a broader range of students, working at their own pace. 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.

Faculty can also leverage technology to enhance student engagement by using tools designed to improve communication, collaboration and work habits. Integrating Multimedia resources into online courses supplements textbooks and deepens 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.

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.

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 addition to course content, students also develop stronger abilities in digital literacy.

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

  • Emphasizing the value of the course content,
  • helping students identify meaningful problems,
  • offering some level of choice in their learning process.

Hostos faculty member at a professional development eventWhat are the different modalities for teaching online?

Online Learning at Hostos Community College refers to courses that are delivered as either hybrid (partly online) or asynchronous (fully online).

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 an asynchronous 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. They participate on their own schedule, although they need to heed the due dates for assignments and assessments set by instructors. Faculty may also request students take exams on campus instead of online.

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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