Online, Hybrid and Face-to-Face FAQs
[Last updated: Monday, February 8, 2021, 5:30pm CDT]
- What constitutes “online,” “hybrid,” and face-to-face courses?
The THECB categorizes anything that is delivered via electronic format as online. They further clarify it by saying whenever the instructor and student are not in the same space at the same time, the course is online. We categorize INET courses as 100% online so students in such a class cannot be required to come to class/campus at any time for any part of the course. A Hybrid course is 50-99% online. Any course that includes 49% or less online is considered face-to-face.
- Does whether a course is synchronous or asynchronous affect whether it counts as online or not?
Online and hybrid courses can be synchronous or asynchronous. Whether a course is synchronous or asynchronous does not affect its “online” status. Rather, it is how much time the student is required to be in person (on site) in a classroom that really determines the “type” of course it is.
- Can I have part of my on-campus (face-to-face) class attend via Zoom or a similar platform?
Yes, as long as at least 50% of class meetings are face-to-face for each student.
- But what about students who are ill? Can they attend via Zoom or watch recorded lectures?
Yes. The THECB sees illness as an accommodation.
- Can we allow international students to take a face-to-face course virtually?
Generally, no. There would need to be sections that have been officially approved as online courses. In addition to THECB rules, allowing an international student who is inside the U.S. to attend a face-to-face section via Zoom would also run afoul of Department of Homeland Security requirements for international students (see below).
- Can international students take all of their classes in online or hybrid modalities?
The Department of Homeland Security requires that students on F1 and J1 visas take some part of their coursework on campus. As a result of the pandemic, the specific requirements for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 were relaxed somewhat for students who entered the country after March 2020. What the rules will be for Fall 2021 is not yet clear, although our best guess is that we will see a return to standard requirements. For F1 students, this will mean they need to be in at least 9 credit hours of on-campus classes of their required 12 credit hours (undergrads) or 6 hours of on-campus classes out of the required 9 credit hours (grads). For J1 students, they are not permitted to be enrolled in online classes in order to meet their 12 or 9 credit hour minimums. It is important that departments consider these requirements and do everything possible to have on-campus options available for international students.