What is an Online or Hybrid Course?

You may be wondering how an online course differs from a hybrid or face-to-face course. At MSU, different types of courses are defined as follows:

Face-to-Face Courses

Course sessions occur in the traditional classroom environment, on Campus or at satellite locations, during required face-to-face meeting times. The internet and other technology may be used for supplemental course content and activities.

Online Courses

The course occurs in an online environment. Students are not required to be present on Campus or elsewhere to meet with classmates or their instructor, but some courses may require synchronous (simultaneous) online meetings.

Hybrid Courses

Online activities replace some portion of the traditional face-to-face class meeting time. Students are required to attend on-Campus meetings and to spend a substantial amount of time online. The online portion of the course can be asynchronous or synchronous.


Note: Online and hybrid courses may require synchronous, in addition to asynchronous activities, as defined below:

  • Synchronous – The online portion of the course will simultaneously meet during the scheduled course time via the internet using a live online meeting tool instead of in the classroom.
  • Asynchronous – The online portion of the course will not have a designated meeting time. Students are expected to complete the necessary coursework individually or in groups as determined by the faculty member.

Online courses at Montclair State University are structured using a user-friendly web environment within Canvas, our learning management system, to provide you with all relevant course information, access to learning materials and activities, opportunities to engage and collaborate with peers and your professor, as well as assessments to enable you to demonstrate your understanding and mastery of the course.

Each course includes the components listed below:
  • Home: Includes a brief introduction to the course, the course goals, and an outline of the Learning Modules.
  • Syllabus: Contains all relevant course information and a downloadable version of the syllabus. This should include: faculty information, course introduction and course goals/objectives, required textbooks (if applicable), course weekly schedule, assessment and grading system, URL of the student handbook, etc.
  • Learning Modules: Presents individual learning modules of instruction. Each learning module contains learning objectives, requirements, subject content, interaction, and assessment.
  • Cyber Cafe: This is an area where students get to know each other and post general questions or FAQs.

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