Online Only (iCourse and oCourse)

Online Only (iCourse and oCourse)

The Online Only mode is used for on-campus iCourses and ASU Online oCourses, and it requires that the course has already gone through all of the necessary approvals and paperwork. Courses that have been designated as ASU Sync/In-Person (or hybrid) cannot suddenly be made into fully online courses. Primarily the reason for this is that online courses are typically asynchronous and self-paced meaning that all of the instructions and activities must be developed in such a way that will help scaffold student learning toward successful learning outcomes.  This type of development typically takes around six months to effectively complete. If you are interested in developing a proposal to designate your course as either an iCourse/oCourse, please contact Kristin Elwood (, who can discuss the process with you.

Positive Aspects

  • Students will not have to worry about masks or social distancing.

  • Instructors will not have to monitor and engage with more than one instructional space.

  • Online courses can be developed to meet a wider variety of learning needs.

  • Learning outcomes in the online space can be as rich and rigorous as in the in-person space, if the course is developed thoughtfully.

  • Issues like COVID do not really affect how your course is run, except you may be asked to increase your enrollment caps.

Challenging Aspects

  • Students will come from a variety of timezones, making synchronous meetings difficult (not impossible, they would just require more planning and explicit built-in instruction).

  • There may be technology challenges (e.g. not all students are familiar with or confident using the applications developed for the course).

  • Instructor presence must be thoughtfully embedded throughout the course.

  • Student engagement through community building must be thoughtfully embedded throughout the course.

  • It takes time to effectively develop a fully online course (e.g. approximately 6 months).

Basic Model Assumptions and Strategies

As long as you have thoughtfully designed your course to include instructor presence, build student connections and engagement, and include strategies for large course enrollment, your course should be able to move forward with very little revision. 

Determine Your Schedule of Assignments

Even though you may not need to change much in your courses, you should still consider the global situation beyond your course. Many students are out of work or now have odd work schedules.  Many may have to work from home while simultaneously trying to care for children, elderly, or sick family members. Review your course schedule.  Is there any place that you might be able to embed some additional flexibility for due dates.  Look over your Canvas assignments.  Assignments always have three date fields, the due date, the available date, and the until date.  Think most specifically about the “until” date, which is the date when Canvas will no longer allow students to submit their assignments. Consider leaving this date blank or a week cushion.  Students will only see the official due date, and when they submit, Canvas will mark it late so you can still take off penalty points based on your “late assignments policy.” If however a student is having technical difficulties and/or some kind of family crisis--Canvas will still allow them to turn in the assignment.  This will save you a lot of effort in the long run.

Contact Students

Before classes begin, email your students. Make it clear to them that you are a real person who is there to support their learning throughout this semester. Consider attaching a Google Form.  What kind of information from your students might better help you prepare for courses and help students feel more comfortable about taking your course? 


An online course does not require attendance in the traditional sense because the class does not typically meet synchronously.  However, if your course does require synchronous meetings, then ensure that you track attendance for them.  Also note that synchronous meetings can be difficult for students due to a variety of reasons. Make sure that you provide a way for students to self-select a meeting time.  Some ways of doing this would be to . . .

  • Embed a link to a Google Doc with a table listing a few different time slots that students can add their names to.  Include an instruction that if none of those time slots work the student should contact you directly so you can figure something out.

  • Create self-assigning Canvas groups that you name by different day/times.

  • Use a Google form or something like Doodle to determine which days of the week and time periods your students would prefer for a synchronous meeting.  Then group students with like preferences together. 

Once you have your synchronous meetings, for small groups you can probably just manually track their attendance, but for larger groups there is a way to run a report from within Zoom to determine which students participated in your course (see the UTO Zoom Attendance Report video).

Set Clear Classroom Procedures

If your online course does have a synchronous meeting element, you will need to ensure that you have added language to your syllabus that discusses classroom behavior in a virtual meeting space. See the UTO Best Practices for Zoom Classroom Management document for a list of suggested ways to provide effective management when working with Zoom. You should also include a general description of netiquette as it pertains to discussion forums and peer review posts.


ASU Instruction
 Mode Strategies