4 Synchronous versus Asynchronous

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What are Asynchronous and Synchronous courses?

Table 4.1: Our perspective on asynchronous and synchronous course deliveries.


What we are encouraged by:

What we are concerned with:


  • We can do the work anytime and anywhere which reduces negative stress.
  • We can work at our own pace.
  • We can re-watch lectures to review content prior to an assessment.
  • Helps the student improve task initiation, commitment, and independent learning skills.
  • Gives students with part-time jobs flexible schedules to be able to balance work and school.


  • Disconnect from our classmates and instructor.
  • It can be easier to have some content explained by an instructor than to learn it by yourself.
  • It can be difficult to schedule a time to study, thus easier to fall behind in classes.
  • It can be difficult collaborating with classmates on group projects.


  • Class time is an opportunity for live interactions with the professor.
  • Provide a schedule and the structure to help us stay on track.
  • The instructor can adjust the class to further explain topics if we have any questions.



  • When the benefits of going to class are not easily seen, students become unengaged and don’t want to attend class.
  • The instructor sets the learning pace with little room for flexibility.
  • Internet and technological problems can arise during online lectures.



Pre-lecture activities can consist of reading articles, cases, textbook chapters, watching videos, completing worksheets, and other activities. These tasks are designed to give students exposure to the material before attending the lecture.

Table 4.2: Our perspective on pre-lecture activities.

What we are encouraged by:

What we are concerned with:

  • Pre-lecture activities can provide us with an opportunity for deeper learning.
  • Pre-lecture activities can give us further exposure to the material.


  • When the pre-lecture material is not engaging, we can lose focus.
  • Instructors may not explain the relevance and context of why the specific pre-lecture activity was given.
  • If the topic is too complex and confuses us, students, we may become disengaged with the topic.

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Online Learning: A Student Perspective Copyright © by Madicyn Anderson, Trevor Winchester, Aidan Burns, Rana Kilani, Collin Campbell, Steven Shilmoon, Sawyer King, Lakshdeep Singh, and Dave Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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