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Online Courses

Classes at CSUSM may be offered in a variety of modalities (formats), including in-person, online, or a combination. Below are definitions for understanding the types of online formats, as well as changes to the class schedule for the Fall 2020 semester.

Please note: on May 27 the Fall 2020 Class Schedule will be updated to indicate changes to the format of most classes on campus, due to the move to virtual learning.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous

Synchronous online learning is learning that takes place in real time with the instructor and students interacting at the same time. Using technology such as video conferencing, real-time chat, or virtual environments, students are able to engage in learning activities such as lectures, discussions or activities. In order to facilitate these lessons, students in the course need to be available at the time designated by the instructor/institution


Synchronous classes have many of the same interactive advantages of face to face classes

Allows for real time interaction with instructor and classmates during activities and or discussions

Access to answers to questions in real time during sessions

To Consider

May require a higher technological hurdle (microphone, camera, internet connection fast enough to handle the live feed)t here

Asynchronous online learning offers more independence and flexibility because it provides students freedom of time and distance. Learning can take place independently, within smaller groups, or with the whole class, but those interactions happen in a more structured environment.


Allows you to learn independent of time or location

You can learn at a pace that works for your schedule and learning style. This includes engaging material in small chunks or re-watching portions of recorded lessons

Successful learning is less likely to be hindered by access to technology (camera, microphone) and internet speed

To Consider

This relies on you to be self-motivated to complete tasks

The lack of real time engagement can reduce buy-in or interest

Online Course Material

Many professors make course containers available to students in Cougar Courses. After you have officially enrolled in a course, wait 24 hours, and then check for your course in Cougar Courses. Please note your course will only be listed if your professor has made the course visible to student view.

Cougar Courses

Looking for Online Classes?

To identify classes that are offered online (both synchronous and asynchronous) in the Class Schedule, go to the Class Search and follow the below instructions. If you are interested in taking an online class through the CSU Fully Online program, please see our webpage for more information.

1. Select the correct Term in the drop down menu.
2. Click on “Additional Search Criteria,” which will then display more options for you to choose from.
3. Click on the drop down on “Mode of Instruction” (second option from the bottom)
4. In the drop down menu, select “On Line”
5. Click the search button.

You may select more criteria in these options, such as Subject or Course Number, to narrow down your search as well.

Online Courses