Online vs Face-to-Face

Traducción Española   ترجمة إسبانية

Although you will need to develop new skills when teaching online for the first time, it is still teaching. Your first course will usually be "wanting," but the experience gets better with each successive course. Communication is the biggest change. It can be intense and frequent. Contrary to expectation, you will often get to know your online students much better than their on-site counterparts.


Changes for Instructors:

  • You become part teacher, part proctor, part technician, part designer/developer

  • Increased workload (excessive at first - later revisions require about 10% more work than a F2F course)
  • Amplified communication (with more student problems - both technical and personal)
  • Communication without body language, voice tone, facial expressions, though online conferencing can help with this
  • Greater time commitment - as students expect 24/7 contact (but the trade off is at-home convenience and flexibility)

Changes for Students:

  • More independent, self-motivated, self-initiated learning
  • Become active learners (assuming responsibility for their own success)

  • Need to develop good time-management skills
  • Less emphasis on attendance, more on performance

Changes in Teaching:

  • Visualization with a greater variety of techniques
  • More passive - emphasis on facilitation
  • Less giving of information, more guiding of learning
  • More frequent and varied student assessments
  • Need to account for differences in student tech ability
  • Discovery of new types of content, new links for help
  • New solutions to old problems
  • More diverse population


Expand All | Collapse All

Asynchronous →
  • Definition: Course is 100% asynchronous, no scheduled course meetings
  • Training Required: Cuyamaca's Teaching Online Certificate or equivalent
Hybrid →
  • Definition: Part of the course is asynchronous, and there are some scheduled course meetings (whether on Zoom or on-ground)
  • Training Required: Cuyamaca's Teaching Online Certificate or equivalent

Hybrid or blended courses include both face-to-face components (such as lecture and office hours) and online components (such as Online discussions, testing, and assignments). See the right sidebar for course type distinctions in our district. A hybrid class typically reduces on-site class time by about half, so that a face-to-face M/W class would have an equivalent hybrid class meeting only one of those days (M or W) on campus - the remaining time would be spent with online activities. Another example could be a science class where the lab is on-campus, but information and testing are presented online.


In fact, online components should be available for every class. All teachers at least use email now. Using face-to-face components only is much too limiting for modern students and teachers - a mixture is much more effective. Yes, adding more online components can be more work (and bring on more headaches) at first, but it is also more convenient and adds more variety to the students' learning experience. Each instructor needs to find their own balance between the two formats.


Comparable Activities



(presenting information - lecture, projection systems, demonstrations)

Slide Presentations, Video Lectures, podcasts, Blogs

(interaction with students - questions, personal applications, debates, explanations)

Online Discussion, Chat, Wikis

Office Hours
(few hours a week for student walk-in visits)

Inbox, Zoom conferencing, Chat

Paper and Pencil Tests
(Scantron, blue book, essay, etc.)

Online Tests

Manual Grade Sheet
(either on paper, software program, or using Excel)

Canvas Grades
(mostly automated)

On-Site Labs
(equipment, tools, technicians present)

Online (or at home) Lab Simulations

Handouts and Manual Assignment Collection
(papers, projects, homework)

Online Assignment Posting and Submission

Group Work
(meet in the classroom, library, or off-campus)

Assign to


Canvas Groups
with online discussions, file sharing, etc.


How one divides and mixes these activities (on-site versus online) depends on the instructor or on course demands. For example, in a biology lab class, the lab could be on-campus while lecture could be online via presentations - or lab could be online via simulations and lecture could be on-campus. Some might prefer a discussion in the classroom, while others might find it works better online in online discussions. For those worried about security, testing could be done on-site with other components online. Yet, for others, the convenience of online testing might be preferable.




Some instructors have found hybrid courses to be disappointing for the following reasons:

  • students sign up thinking a hybrid course will be easy (since it meets on-campus only one day, rather than two per week) or have




    about the online components
  • students seem to commit to the online part or others to the face-to-face part, but not to both
  • students consider the online components "homework" rather than half of the required class time (hence, any actual homework is considered excessive)
  • although preparation for a hybrid class might be less workload than preparation for an online class, the teaching workload can be demanding since one is then managing both online and lecture components without the benefits of either
Live (Synchronous) Zoom →
  • Definition: Course is 100% synchronous, and instruction is delivered during scheduled Zoom class meetings
  • Training Required: Cuyamaca's Teaching Online Certificate or equivalent
HyFlex →
  • Definition: HyFlex classes are taught on campus at scheduled days and times like a traditional class.  Unlike a traditional class, HyFlex teachers use Zoom to broadcast their live class session.  This means that student can CHOOSE whether to attend class on campus or via Zoom.  Some teachers require in-person attendance for some class sessions, so check with the instructor for attendance requirements.  
  • Training Required: Cuyamaca's Teaching Online Certificate or equivalent AND HyFlex pedagogy training (one hour, paid training)
  • Instructions for using the HyFlex classroom equipment
Resources →
  • Regular and Effective Contact Webinar facilitated by Dr. Josh Franco and Bri Brown
  • Facilitating Group Work on Zoom Webinar facilitated by Rachel Polakoski