Synchronous and asynchronous online course design and delivery

As you move into thinking more about how you want to teach online in the Winter, and even moving forward into Spring and Summer next year, we would like you to consider flexible delivery options to support your students in engaging with your course content and activities.

  • Synchronous design and delivery = “at the same time”. Instructors and students meet online in real time through videoconferencing or live chatting, typically on a weekly basis. Instructors may deliver virtual office hours, course check-ins or focused sessions on complex content or troubleshooting.
  • Asynchronous design and delivery = “not at the same time”. Students can work through course materials, assessments and activities at their own pace or within a prescribed/suggested time frame. E.g. They may be required to participate in a discussion activity over a seven day period when it is convenient for them or work through interactive self-paced activities and receive automated feedback.
  • Flexible design and delivery = incorporating a variety of delivery approaches so that students have a choice in how, when, and where they study. Instructors can define how much structure to integrate into the experience for students and often the goal is to strike a balance.

As we continue to transition courses to an online environment, faculty will need to rethink the role that both synchronous and asynchronous delivery approaches play in creating effective flexible online learning experiences for students. It is evident that neither approach is perfect; there are pros and cons to both modalities for online delivery. Increasingly faculty are opting for an approach that incorporates both delivery formats and enables faculty to be more flexible and responsive to the diversity of learner needs. Ultimately, deciding on your approach will depend on your learners, the curriculum, course materials and your time and capacity as an instructor and other contextual factors. If we consider designing online courses that incorporate the strengths of both asynchronous and synchronous delivery models, we can create experiences that enable both flexibility and structure to co-exist, thus creating a more enrichening teaching and learning environment for students and instructors.

Learn more! Creating flexible learning experiences through asynchronous and synchronous delivery approaches is a Camosun resource developed by the eLearning team which highlights some key elements to consider when determining your delivery strategy.

Below are some additional articles for consideration:

Some Changes Coming to Camosun’s D2L

Camosun College is updating its integration with the Colleague student information system. Faculty and Students will notice changes to some of the D2L communications tools as a result of this update.  And there are also some exciting (and long awaited) changes coming up!!

January, 2021


As of January 2021, the D2L Email tool will be limited to student-instructor communications only. Students will no longer be able to communicate with each other through this tool. This change has been made in order to protect students’ personal information.

Students will continue to have access to their historical emails but will not have the ability to reply to or forward those messages.


Students will have access to a new Message tool in D2L that will enable students to connect with other students from within D2L. The Message tool has replaced the existing Pager tool.

Audio Note (the Record Audio button)

Audio Note recording time has now been increased to 5 minutes.

March, 2021

“Chosen names” for students and faculty (also sometimes called “preferred names) will be available in Colleague and will cascade into the D2L Classlist.

Data updates between Colleague and D2L will occur in real time (meaning that if a student registers late, they will immediately have access to D2L and not have to wait until the next day).

Summer, 2021

An option to export grades directly from D2L to Colleague will be available.  More information on this change will be available closer to its availability – stay tuned!


The tutorial for how to use the Message tool is now available on the eLearning Tutorials at Camosun site.

For more information or questions, contact