Hybrid, virtual, and asynchronous…Oh, my!

(image: https://onestop.utsa.edu/registration/class-schedule/modality/)

Remember when there were two types of classes, online and in-person?

Online and in-person gave birth to three children: hybrid, asynchronous, and virtual.  In Temple parlance, a hybrid class has an online component and an in-person component. An asynchronous class is an online class that has no required meeting time. Students can choose when to work on their assignments — be it 3 pm or 3 am — as long as they meet deadlines. Virtual classes, on the other hand, have fixed meeting times, typically a Zoom lecture where all students are expected to be present and accounted for.

Grandchildren have spawned during the pandemic. Many are crosses between virtual and asynchronous with, say, one synchronous meeting a week. Or a hybrid science class where perhaps only a handful of labs are in-person. Some of these grandchildren will likely perish within a semester or two. Other formats may flourish in a post-covid world.

Either way, this spells trouble  for Temple’s “Enterprise Resource Planning and Student Information System.” Our database has a column for “mode of instruction” that knows only virtual, asychronous, classroom and hybrid. To to code all these little mutants, schedulars are resorting to entering one code for  instruction mode and a series of different codes in multiple fields for “meeting type.” What are the odds that all colleges will code their progeny the same way?

I know that at some point I will want to query the records to determine the number of classes using different instruction strategies to answer questions such as: How many hours did students spent on Zoom? Were they any in-person meetings at all? Did the same instructor lead the virtual meetings as monitored the asychronous class components?

Cleaning the data and structuring the queries is going to be a fun challenge!


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