Blended and online learning

Blended (B) and Online (OL) courses are a part of SFU’s Flexible Education initiative, and offer alternative course delivery modality options for departments, instructors, and students. 

Are you an undergraduate student?

For technical issues with your B/OL course, contact your instructor/TA team or ITS and for details on B/OL courses at SFU go to student services. For questions about registration, contact your department administrator.

Blended (B)

In blended (B) courses, a portion of face-to-face class time is replaced by asynchronous online components. This type of learning is associated with higher student satisfaction and achievement.

Blended learning at SFU

Blended (B) courses at SFU have at least one quarter and no more than three quarters of student learning integral to the course occurring in the online environment, replacing in-person instruction

B courses should involve a reduction of in-person activities that is proportional to the increase in online activities; blended courses should not be more work than either online or face-to-face courses.

The proportion of online to face-to-face is likely to depend on the subdiscipline and should be decided by departments, with the understanding that available data suggests a higher proportion of online activities appears to be better for students.

Benefits of blended learning

Research suggests that blended courses are associated with higher student satisfaction compared to fully online or fully face-to-face courses because they increase flexibility while retaining a sense of community.

There is also evidence that blended courses can increase student achievement compared to fully online or fully face-to-face courses.

The new course format is designed to increase flexibility for student schedules and allow for more efficient use of classroom space.

Your role as an instructor in blended courses

The role a B instructor, as with OL and face-to-face courses, is to design, develop and implement the course. In B courses, instructors have the additional challenge of having presence even in the asynchronous elements (e.g., videos, voice in discussion boards, modeling activities). Instructors may be supported by TAs and departmental administration and are encouraged to reach out to CEE at any stage of the course design, development or implementation.

If you have a TA, we encourage you to let them know about the TA Hub, a virtual resource created to help TAs strengthen their teaching, leadership and interpersonal skills which includes specific information on supporting students in online learning enviroment.  

Online (OL)

In online (OL) courses, class time is fully virtual and asynchronous, with primarily instructor-led engagement. This type of learning is associated with maximized student flexibility.

Online learning at SFU

Online (OL) courses at SFU do not have any scheduled on-campus sessions or synchronous online elements (with the possible exception of exams).

OL courses at SFU are instructor-led, meaning instructors take a hands-on role in facilitating student engagement with asynchronous course activities and communicate regularly with students as part of community building in the online environment. 

Benefits of online learning

Student and instructor engagement occur independent of time and place, which research suggests enhances the learning experience by maximizing flexibility while allowing student agency over the pathway and pace of learning.

Your role as an instructor in online (OL) course

The role an OL instructor, as with B and face-to-face courses, is to design, develop and implement the course. In OL courses, instructors have the additional challenge of having presence even in the asynchronous elements (e.g., videos, voice in discussion boards, modeling activities). Instructors may be supported by TAs and departmental administration and are encouraged to reach out to CEE at any stage of the course design, development or implementation.

If you have a TA, we encourage you to let them know about the TA Hub, a virtual resource created to help TAs strengthen their teaching, leadership and interpersonal skills which includes specific information on supporting students in online learning environments.

Roles and responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities for both blended and online courses are as below: 

Role Responsibilities
Instructors Course design, development and implementation, and assigns the TA duties in accordance with the TUG. Supporting students in an online environment
TAs Supporting students in an online environment
Deans, with input from Chairs/Directors and, often, the instructor Decisions about modalities of instruction (Blended, Online, In Person)
Department Administration Scheduling, arranging student accommodations, ordering textbooks
CEE Staff Supporting you to reach your teaching goals and resolve teaching related issues through consultations on specific problems, skills training, resource development, course production and more. See our Online & Blended Course Development Services page for details.