Schedule Types and Instructional Methods

The University offers many different types of courses that are designated on the course schedule each term. To promote consistent designations, this document defines each schedule type appearing on the schedule.
Courses also use a variety of delivery modes or instructional methods that are designated on the course schedule. To promote consistent designations, this document defines each course delivery mode or instructional method.

Course Schedule Types and Definitions

(The schedule type is determined by the dominant instructional format or method employed in a course.)

This section defines each course schedule type, assigns a three-letter symbol to it and specifies the amount of student work required for one credit hour, including required contact hours, which are indicated according to an instructional method.


Two-way communication between instructor and students typically related to the lecture and/or assignments and is offered in addition to lecture instruction, but is generally scheduled in smaller groups than the lecture. Discussion sections are typically attached to a lecture or other type of course.


Courses physically offered at an off-site location other than the main or Fairlane campuses. Typically such courses require field experience with activity that relates to a student’s occupational and/or degree objectives, such as Education or Geology. The experience is coordinated with a college or faculty member with some level of supervision and site visit review occurring on a regular basis along with the assignment of a course grade.

Independent Study

Student works independently under the guidance of the instructor. An independent study is freestanding and not linked with any other course schedule type. An independent study will not have meeting times in the class schedule. The meeting times for all independent study courses will be listed as “TBA.”

Contact with the students varies. Hours spent on the course per week may vary from week to week, though the standard is one to three contact hours per week per credit, dependent upon the number of credit hours of the course.



Internships are usually ‘one time only’ positions or over the summer and can be paid or unpaid depending on the placement (most often they are unpaid). Oftentimes students will do more than one internship throughout their college career so that they can try out a couple of different fields or positions and compare them to see which one they like best. An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths, and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. The internship plan generally involves a student working in a professional setting under the supervision and monitoring of practicing professionals.


Cooperative education (Co-op) is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with practical work experience. A cooperative education experience, commonly known as a "co-op", provides academic credit for structured job experience. Co-ops are a joint venture between the university, a selected employer, and the student. Co-ops are usually always full-time, paid positions.


Internships are administered through academic departments. Co-ops are administered through College co-op offices.


Instructor supervises creative or investigational work by students (individually or as a group) in a controlled environment requiring specialized equipment and/or facilities. The primary emphasis is on learning by doing and observing. Labs give students first-hand experience in developing and practicing skills, translating theory into practice, and developing, testing, and applying principles. Labs are most often associated with lectures, but also may be freestanding.


A lecture is primarily one-way communication of prepared content from instructor to students. This is the most common class type in undergraduate education and may be combined with a discussion or recitation section and/or lab.

For courses that will be Lecture/Lab/Dis or Rec combinations, please include all applicable schedule types on the course approval form. The lecture portion is primarily one-way communication of prepared content from instructor to students. The lab portion normally utilizes the knowledge obtained within the lecture in the laboratory setting. When the course is created and offered in the Schedule of Classes, the LAB/DIS or LAB/REC components of the course will be created with no credit hours.


May be listed as the sole type of instruction for a course or in combination with laboratory sessions. In recitations that supplement lectures, the leader will often review the lecture, expand on the concepts, and carry on a discussion with the students.

In classes involving mathematics and engineering, a recitation is often used as the vehicle to perform derivations or solve problems similar to those assigned to the students. Scientific classes, such as biology, chemistry, and physics, often employ the use of recitation sections to help students clarify subject matter that was either not fully understood or inadequately addressed in the limited time of lecture. These sections provide students with an opportunity to receive additional instruction on confusing subject matter or receive personal assistance with problems or questions assigned as homework in the lecture section.


Students prepare materials and lead discussion under the instructor's guidance. Typical differences from lectures include smaller class enrollment, lively discussions, and less time devoted to instructor’s presentation of material. Seminars are usually for a small group of students in advanced status within their programs, graduate and professional students, or those participating in special programs such as Honors or learning communities

Instructional Methods

The following terminology describes the course instructional methods. Course instructional methods are published in the Schedule of Classes and may not be altered after the beginning of a term.

Course Instructional Methods and Descriptions

All classes will be designated with one of the following five (5) instructional modes: In-Person, Hybrid, Hybrid-Mostly Online, Online-Dual, and Online-Asynchronous. Only Hybrid-Mostly Online, Online-Dual, and Online-Asynchronous meet the HLC definition of Distance Learning. Each term, faculty should check that their courses have the correct instructional mode.

Each instructional mode falls into one of the three (3) campus-wide definitions for delivery methods, as approved by UCDC. Those delivery methods are Online, Hybrid, and Face-to-Face (see definitions here). These definitions are essential to our ability to report to HLC the number of courses we offer that qualify as Distance Learning.

Distance-delivered courses are those in which all or the vast majority (typically 75% or more of the instruction and interaction occurs via electronic communication, correspondence, or equivalent mechanisms, with the faculty and students physically separated from each other); see Commission Definitions for Distance-Delivered Courses and Programs.

In-Person (CLASS)

Courses where instructors interact with students in the same physical space for 100% of the instructional time.

Many UM-Dearborn courses utilize online learning management systems such as Canvas; therefore, traditional classroom face-to-face courses might also include some online elements such as viewing documents, participating in discussions, tests and assessments, and submitting assignments.

Hybrid (HYB)

Courses where instructors interact with students in the same physical space with up to 75% of the instructional time provided online. These courses are taught synchronously when in person and either synchronously or asynchronously when online.

Hybrid-Mostly Online (ONMST)

Courses where the instructional activity is 75% or more online. Regular meetings (for tests and other course work) may be scheduled online or on campus. These courses are taught synchronously when in person and either synchronously or asynchronously when online.

Online-Dual (ONREG)

All course activity (tests, assignments, student-faculty interaction) is online and taught in a synchronous and asynchronous manner. 

Online-Asynchronous (ONLN)

All course activity (tests, assignments, student-faculty interaction) is online and taught in an asynchronous manner. 

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning

Synchronous learning: means that you will have specific times set for interaction, through a specific medium, at a specific time.  

Asynchronous learning: means that you will have key deadlines assigned by the instructor to which students must adhere but will not provide specific meeting times for online interaction with the class. 

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