Remote Courses: Questions and answers

What is a remote course, and how is it different from an online course?

At Kent State University, the term “remote” reflects a new scheduling category created post-COVID-19. A remote course is one that was originally scheduled to be taught in an in-person format but is now being taught remotely using a web-based platform. Remote courses differ from courses formally designated as “online” in that the online category existed pre-COVID-19.

Both remote and online courses can be delivered synchronously, asynchronously or in a combination of both.

Synchronous

Synchronous learning takes place in real time; the instructor, you and your classmates are present in the same virtual place at the same time. Methods of synchronous remote or online learning include video conferencing, live chatting, virtual group or teamwork, and livestreaming lectures.

Asynchronous

Asynchronous learning has no real-time interaction; the instructor, you and your classmates engage in the exchange of ideas and information on your own schedules. Methods of asynchronous remote or online learning include lesson modules with self-guided activities, streaming video content, virtual libraries, posted lecture notes, and conversations across discussion boards or social media platforms, among others.

On one end of the teaching spectrum is fully asynchronous instruction in which your entire learning experiences typically will revolve around materials that can be accessed on your own time (though often within a set time frame with deadlines for specific assignments). At the other end of the spectrum is fully synchronous instruction with you participating in live learning experiences, lectures, discussions and/or team activities throughout the course. However, these are the extremes, and instructors teaching remote courses can use any combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction. Any synchronous learning will take place on the meeting days and times listed on your course schedule. 

Hundreds of Kent State instructors have engaged in training over the summer to enhance their ability to teach these remote courses. Individual instructors know their subject matter, and they have a strong sense of students’ abilities and challenges. Instructors are also keenly aware of their own strengths and limitations in various teaching formats and modalities. Your instructors will choose the format and modality best suited to their teaching strengths, student learning and the content of their courses.

If you are enrolled in a remote course, you can expect to receive communication from your instructor before the start of the semester indicating the amount of asynchronous versus synchronous learning activities. Faculty will be available for guidance, either by meeting face-to-face while practicing the safety principles or by scheduling to meet remotely,.

How will I know if my course is being offered in person, in a remote format or some mix of the two?

If any of your courses are being offered in a wholly remote instruction format, your schedule will indicate “remote course” under location. 

REMOTE COURSE

REMOTE COURSE EXAMPLE UNDER LOCATION COLUMN IN COURSE SCHEDULE EXAMPLE.

If any of your courses are being offered entirely or partially in person, your schedule will indicate a classroom under location. 

CLASSROOM UNDER LOCATION

PARTIAL OR ENTIRELY IN PERSON EXAMPLE WITH LOCATION OF BUILDING UNDER LOCATION IN COURSE SCHEDULE EXAMPLE.

You can expect to receive communication from your instructor before the start of the semester letting you know if the course will be a mix (or hybrid) of remote and in-person instruction. An example of a hybrid remote/in-person course is having half of the students attending class in person on one day and the other half attending class in person on another day. Students not attending in person on that day may still be participating through livestreaming, or they may be completing other activities, such as viewing recorded materials, working on assignments and other activities intentionally designed to meet the learning outcomes of the course.

How was the decision made to make some classes remote and allow others to be in person?

The need to practice physical distancing on campus radically reduced the capacity of our classrooms. Kent State then identified the courses that simply could not be offered remotely given the need for special equipment (e.g., labs, studios, clinical settings). These courses were prioritized for in-person instruction and hybrid in-person/remote instruction. Individual colleges and Regional Campuses then prioritized their remaining courses for in-person instruction and, where possible, identified appropriate classrooms in which to schedule them. Therefore, the number of in-person classes versus remote classes that you will experience will vary depending on your major, class selection, class standing and campus.

Will I be charged extra fees for remote courses?

If a course was originally intended to be delivered in person and now will be delivered remotely due to COVID-19, you will not be charged an additional fee. However, if your course was always scheduled as fully or partially online, you will be assessed the usual distance-learning fee.

Why am I paying an out-of-state fee when all of my classes are remote?

The Board of Trustees approved tuition rates for the 2020-2021 year during its June meeting. There are no increases in tuition for returning students and tuition for incoming freshmen will be frozen for four years under our Tuition Guarantee. Tuition rates are available at www.kent.edu/tuition. Non-Ohio residents pay an out-of-state surcharge in addition to tuition. Residing out-of-state, non-Ohio residents do not pay taxes to the state of Ohio. Ohio residents already subsidize tuition costs at state universities via their state taxes.

Why are there days and times showing with my remote classes?

The days and times showing for your remote classes are to accommodate any synchronous learning activities planned by your instructor for the course. Synchronous learning takes place in real time; the instructor, you and your classmates are present in the same virtual place on the days and times listed on your schedule. That is different from asynchronous instruction in which your entire learning experiences typically will revolve around materials that can be accessed on your own time.

You can expect to receive communication from your instructor before the start of the semester letting you know if the course will be fully synchronous, fully asynchronous or a combination of both.

My classes are scheduled to be in person, but I am unable to be on campus because of an underlying condition or extenuating circumstance. What can I do?

Tell us about your situation via this pandemic adjustment request form. You will be contacted by a Kent State staff member to discuss and determine appropriate next steps. 

How can I be successful in remote classes?

Kent State has provided strategies for becoming a successful online student that include having the right technology and tools, managing your time, being prepared and creating a productive workspace.

Additionally, students who need assistance learning how to navigate remote and online classes, can sign up for free coaching.