Online and Virtual Instruction

Basic information to help you be successful in the Online and Virtual environments.

Distance Education Policy

Utilizing the Online or Virtual mode of instruction requires a unique set of technology skills and a basic understanding of Online pedagogy and good course design.  With the proper planning, preparation and training the teaching and learning experience can achieve and even surpass all of your expectations, as well as those of your students.  To begin, you must answer this questions:  How will I teach?

SynchronousAsynchronous, or Hybrid instruction?  The decision you make about this will dictate much of the format and implementation strategies for your course.  So, let's talk about the differences, along with some of the advantages and challenges of each.  


Synchronous Instruction

Your class is taught in real time, meaning you meet virtually on the same day and time established in the schedule.  You can live stream your class using a videoconferencing app, like Google Meet or Zoom, and students can participate in discussions and ask questions just as if you were in a physical classroom. 

  • Advantages:  

    1. Real time engagement.  Perfect for those that prefer live interaction, immediate feedback, and personal contact.

    2. Smooth transition.  Those more accustomed to face-to-face classes will have an easier time adjusting to synchronous vs. asynchronus learning.

    3. Sense of community.  For many students, especially for those who feel socially isolated, the real time experience provides a space for connection.

  • Challenges:

    1. Connectivity issues.  Those with slow Internet speeds or weak connections may experience problems connecting to a live stream.  Video and/or audio feeds may be poor or distorted, making it difficult to participate in the class.  This can also be a major issue if administering live quizzes or exams.

    2. Fixed schedules.  Many students with other commitments opt out of synchronous instruction in favor of the more flexible asynchronous format.


Asynchronous Instruction

A 100% Online and NEVER meets in real time.  You do not have an assigned day or time for your class.  Lectures can be recorded using the Google Meet app.  You post these lectures for students to view in their own time.  Likewise, all course information and assignments are posted in Moodle, and students access them in their own time.

  • Advantages:  
  1. Flexibility.  Course content can be accessed at a time that is convenient for the student, (within certain time limits of course).  Students and faculty do not have to commit to being available for a scheduled class meeting.
  2. Pacing.  Course material can be digested at a pace suited to the individual student, often allowing for more in-depth study and review.


  • Challenges:
  1. Isolation.  Many do not feel connected to the course material or a sense of community when learning in the asynchronous environment.  Faculty must work harder to employ methods of online engagement in order to create that sense of community. 
  2. Motivation.  Some students feed off the energy of the physical classroom and the instructor to stay on task and work toward meeting the class objectives.  For these students, the self-paced nature of an asynchronous class is not desirable.


Hybrid Instruction (Synchronous & Asynchronous)

Your class is a mix of both types of instruction.  You inform students in advance of the exact dates of synchronous meetings.  You MUST have been assigned a class day and time in the schedule in order to use this format.  Of course, if circumstances dictate that all classes be taught 100% Online, this option goes away.

  • Advantages:  
  1. Best of both worlds.  This method allows you to balance your real time interaction with recorded postings and other course materials.  Opportunities for live interaction are provided, along with self-paced readings and assignments.


  • Challenges:
  1. Rigid schedule.  Since a portion of your class is going to be conducted synchronously, a designated day and time must still be scheduled.  The absence of full flexibility may be an issue for some students.


Once you've decided upon your instructional format, you will need to utilize the basic tools and information provided below.

Synchronous Instruction

Live Stream Your Lectures

Google Meet is also a video conferencing tool that allows you to live streaming your classes and conduct your office hours.  This link provides pre-recorded "how to" videos and instructional PDFs you can download.

Something to consider.....

  1. To avoid background noise, have students remain muted unless speaking.
  2. Google Meet has a feature that allows students to raise their hands, and you can call on them in the same way you would in your physical classroom. 
  3. You can use the Chat feature in Google Meet to allow students to post comments that can be addressed immediately or after the lecture.

Prepare Students for Live Streaming

Send an email to students prior to the first class meeting with instructions about live streaming.  Students may not understand how to access Google Meet or Zoom, and you will want to provide that information prior to the first class meeting.  Encourage students to do a test run before class to work out any problems and contact the Help Desk or the Office of Online Learning for support.

Post Course Materials in Moodle

All of the material, including exams and quizzes, that you would ordinarily distribute in class, can be uploaded in Moodle.  Instructions for uploading your course information can be found in these training videos.  Also, please contact one of the team members at the Center if you have questions or need further assistance.


Remember Privacy Laws 

When live streaming your classes it is important to remember there are FERPA guidelines to follow.  Remind students of the confidential nature of the classroom environment, and ask them not to record your live stream or allow visitors in the room during the class.  


 Asynchronous Instruction

Record Your Lectures

Google Meet can be use to record your lectures.  This link provides a training video and instructional PDF on how to do this.


Post Your Lectures

Another option is to upload your recorded lecture to YouTube or to your Google Drive and then post the link in Moodle.



Narrate Your PowerPoint Slides

Make your recorded presentations more interesting by narrating your PowerPoint slides.  This short YouTube video will teach you how.

Post Course Materials in Moodle 

All of the material, including exams and quizzes, can be uploaded in Moodle.  Instructions for uploading your course information can be found in these training videos.  Also, please contact one of the team members at the Center if you have questions or need further assistance.

Follow FERPA Guidelines

If you record images or voices of students, you may not show that video to anyone outside of that classroom without the written consent of the identified students. See the Center's WEBSITE for more information.


General Instructional Tools and Information

Virtual Office Hours

Ongoing communication with students is paramount to being successful in the virtual environment.  Answering emails in a timely manner is a necessary practice, but so is continued face-to-face interaction, even if done virtually.  Google Meet is a videoconferencing app that allows you to conduct your office hours and advise students in real time.  Thislink will show you how!

Accessibility and Accommodation Guidelines

 All content in the virtual environment must meet accessibility guidelines.  Ally is Southeastern's newest accessibility software, and it can be accessed and utilized in all your Moodle courses to help you determine the accessibility of your content.  The Center for Faculty Excellence will provide training on this software.

Student accommodation needs may shift once your class pivots.  Therefore, you should contact the Office of Student Accessibility Services if you have any questions or concerns.

Lecture Capture and FERPA 


Certain content obtained through the video and audio recording of classes may be classified by the Family Educational and Privacy Act (FERPA) as an educational record.  Such records are protected by the guidelines established by FERPA and require the student's written consent for 3rd party disclosure. An overview of these guidelines can be found on the website of the Center for Faculty Excellence.

Engage Students

Faculty Focus highlights 10 very helpful tips for engaging your students in the virtual environment while teaching synchronously.