Course Modality

Recommended By
Academic Senate
Ming Tung "Mike" Lee, President
Issue Date
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Current Issue Date
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Effective Date
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Contact Office
Academic Affairs
Policy number



This policy is intended to be consistent with Sonoma State’s commitment to curriculum and pedagogy that support student learning. It is important to balance in-person course offerings for first-time first-year students with flexible modalities needed by non-traditional and/or transfer students.

Given the nature of online learning and the speed with which technologies and standards change, this policy will be reviewed by the Academic Planning, Assessment and Resources Committee (APARC) and Educational Policies Committee (EPC) at least every two years (in the fall of odd years) to ensure that it remains current, valid, and relevant.

I. Definitions

Modality specification is only applicable to course meetings run by the course instructor of record. Course meetings related to course requirements, but conducted with third party agencies in the context of internships, service learning, and other courses with a third party component are not subject to the modality tag applied to a course.

Face-to-Face: Course meetings are in person, either on campus or off campus. If meeting on campus, the room will be designated on the course schedule. May require supplemental course information viewed through the web requiring internet access. This can include viewing course materials and grades, conducting group meetings, posting projects, etc. The term “face-to-face” is used interchangeably with “in-person.”

Hybrid: Course meetings are a mixture of both on/off campus in person and online instruction. Online instruction can be either synchronous or asynchronous. The dates of face-to-face or synchronous online meetings will be specified on the course schedule. If meeting on campus, the meeting room will be designated in the course schedule.

Synchronous Online: Course meetings are online. The dates and times of synchronous online meetings will be specified on the course schedule.

Bisynchronous Online: Course meetings are a mixture of both synchronous and asynchronous components. The dates and times of synchronous online meetings will be specified on the course schedule and will include class meeting times and/or synchronous exams.

Asynchronous Online: Course has no meetings. Students access the lecture and other class materials online on their own time. Irregular optional synchronous sessions are permitted but should be recorded when possible and alternatives should be given if credit is involved.

II. Accessibility of Online Instructional Materials for All Courses

Materials developed for all courses must be accessible for students with disabilities. This requirement is based on federal and state laws including but not limited to Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996; and California Government Code 11135 of 2003 which applies Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended in 1998 to the CSU, as well as any pertinent CSU Executive Orders or Coded Memoranda.

III. Department Course Modality Guidelines

Academic departments are required to create and maintain their own department course modality guidelines before offering hybrid or online courses. Department course modality guidelines will be required before EPC approves future course or program-level changes.

EPC will provide suggested guidelines for department use.

IV. Course Modality Approval

Departments will initially designate courses for a particular modality according to their department course modality guidelines. A list of courses and their designated modality will be submitted to EPC with the department modality guidelines in accordance with the implementation process for this policy. Courses will retain the same CS code, and associated normal class size regardless of delivery mode. Any changes to the modality tags for a course after the initial designation by the department will be done through the normal course revision process.

Updated February 16, 2024  by