Models of Course Design and Development

ETS provides instructional support for courses and programs delivered in a variety of learning environments, which are described in the diagram below.

Classroom-based sessions (Real-time face to face)

Video conference can be seamlessly incorporated into classroom-based sessions so online students can also participate in real-time. Special considerations need to be given to group dynamics and the design of learning activities to ensure a smooth interaction between all students and the instructor.

Fully online with live web-based sessions (Real-time online)

This type of session combines the flexibility of a fully online course with an opportunity for the instructor to check in with the students, or for students to have presentations in real-time. Training and documentation are provided to prepare the instructor and students for the live web-based sessions.

Study/Tutoring Session (Asynchronous Face-to-Face)

Asynchronous learning in a face-to-face environment can occur when students read the course content on their own time prior to attending these sessions. In the classroom, students can ask questions, work on group projects, or complete lab-based work.

Fully Online/Self-Paced Learning (Asynchronous Online)

These sessions offer the greatest flexibility for students. While students still need to complete activities by a certain time, they can generally progress through the content at their own speed.


Incorporating the blended approach into teaching is an important component of instructional support. Combining a variety of learning environments over the period of a course (or program) takes advantage of the flexibility and functions of the different environments.

The diagrams below show some of the most popular blended approaches. Hover over the graphs to view their descriptions.


Blended Real-Time Model

A face-to-face course complemented by real-time online sessions.

In this approach, face-to-face classroom time is complemented with scheduled online sessions for office hours, student presentations, and student discussions. This gives participants the flexibility to make themselves available without the logistical problems of finding a suitable location.

In this approach, students in a face-to-face class also have access to an online space where they can access, share, and discuss additional information at their own pace. This online space can be the LMS, UBC Blogs, or a variety of other platforms.

Flipped Classroom Model

A face-to-face discussion course complemented by online readings and course content, often presented in video format.


Flipped Classroom Online

Online office hours supplement online readings and course content.

In this approach, a fully online course is complemented with regularly scheduled online sessions for office hours, student presentations, and student discussions. This gives the instructor an opportunity to check in with the students.

In this approach, a fully online course begins with a real-time orientation (including self-introductions), and ends with another real-time session for student presentations or a wrap-up lecture from the instructor. This format encourages people in the class to get to know one another, without taking away much of the flexibility of an asynchronous online course.

Blended Online Model

A blended model with a face-to-face orientation, followed by online real-time and asynchronous activities.