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Online Courses

Classes at CSUSM may be offered in a variety of modes of instruction (formats), including in-person, online, or a combination. It is highly recommended that students open up the class, before enrolling, to view the dates, times, and class notes for each section they are interested in. If you are having trouble making this choice, please visit the Keep Learning Page.

Below are definitions for understanding the different types of online formats, as well as changes to the class schedule for the Spring 2021 semester. In order to represent the format of classes as precisely as possible, we have added 2 new types of online format for Spring 2021 (Blended Synchronous and Blended Asynchronous).

Note: the specific format of online classes is listed in the class notes for each section in the class schedule.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous vs. Blended

Synchronous classes have specific meeting times, similar to an in-person class. In other words, classes take place in real time with the instructor and students interacting at the same time - they are just virtual instead of in-person. Using technology such as video conferencing, real-time chat, or virtual environments, students are able to engage in learning activities such as lectures, discussions or activities. In order to facilitate these lessons, students in the course need to be available at the time designated by the instructor/institution. Final Exam: If the course has a final, than a 2-hour final exam will be scheduled during finals week.

Asynchronous classes do not have specific meeting times, though there are specific deadlines for assignments, quizzes, etc. This format offers more independence and flexibility because it provides students freedom of time and distance. Learning can take place independently, within smaller groups, or with the whole class, but those interactions happen in a more structured environment. Final Exam: If the course has a final, than a final exam will be available for 24 hours during finals week.

Blended Synchronous/Blended Asynchronous classes have some dates where the class takes place in real time with the instructor and students interacting at the same time and some of the instruction takes place independently – the proportion of each instructional type will be determined by the instructor. The class may be meeting synchronously every week (15 or more times during the semester) for less than the full instructional hours with some asynchronous instruction OR it may meet mostly asynchronously  with synchronous meetings on one or more set dates (1 or more times during the semester). For more information, please open up the class section, before enrolling, to view the dates, times, and class notes. Final Exam: If the course has a final, than a 2-hour final exam will be scheduled during finals week.

Online Course Material

Many professors make course containers available to students in Cougar Courses. After you have officially enrolled in a course, wait 24 hours, and then check for your course in Cougar Courses. Please note your course will only be listed if your professor has made the course visible to student view.

Cougar Courses

Looking for Online Classes?

To identify classes that are offered online (both synchronous and asynchronous) in the Class Schedule, go to the Class Search and follow the below instructions. If you are interested in taking an online class through the CSU Fully Online program, please see our fully online webpage for more information.

1. Select the correct Term in the drop down menu.
2. Click on “Additional Search Criteria,” which will then display more options for you to choose from.
3. Click on the drop down on “Mode of Instruction” (second option from the bottom)
4. In the drop down menu, select “On Line”
5. Click the search button.

You may select more criteria in these options, such as Subject or Course Number, to narrow down your search as well.

Online Courses selection screenshot