Questions about Course Modalities? We're Here to Help!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 :: Office of Student Success

Good morning, Vaqueros! We know that the first few days of school can be a whirlwind, and that’s okay—we’re all in this together! As you’re meeting your instructors and classmates for the first time and learn more about what your classes are going to be like this semester, we know that you may have a lot of questions, which is perfectly normal and even welcomed. Being successful in college––and in life––is tied to asking good questions and knowing where and how to ask them.  

We understand that with the many course modalities which are available this fall that you might get a little confused or need some help making sense of how each of your classes is going to operate on a weekly basis, especially if you have a mix of asynchronous online, synchronous online, hybrid/reduced, and/or traditional courses. Here’s a quick reminder of how the main 4 modalities will work: 

  • Asynchronous onlineclasses do not meet on specific days and times. You will have the freedom to complete your work whenever you are available, as long as you meet the due dates for assignments, quizzes, and tests assigned by your instructor. You can access class materials, including videos, lectures, Powerpoint slides, etc. on demand. Think of asynchronous classes as like binging Netflix with some broad guidelines from your faculty about when you have to get a certain number of episodes finished.  
  • Synchronous online classes have specific class times which are shown on your official schedule in ASSIST, and you will be “in class” during those times each week. Synchronous classes are like hosting a watch party on Netflix; you’re all watching and talking about the movie with each other at the same time.  
  • Hybrid/Reduced classes have specific class times, too, but some of your class meetings will be online and some will be in a classroom on one of our physical campuses.  
  • Traditional classes are just what they sound like—you’ll be meeting with your instructor and your classmates at specific times in a classroom on one of our campuses.   


If you’re experiencing any confusion about your course modalities, please reach out to your instructor to ask for clarification. If you find that there are conflicts that you don’t know how to resolve (such as having an asynchronous class where the instructor has assigned “unofficial” class meetings which conflict with another one of your classes), please don’t despair or think that your only option is to drop the course. Reach out to your academic advisor or email us at We can help you find a solution! 

At UTRGV, we are Aquí Para Ti! “Express advising” via Zoom is a new service available to undergraduates where you can get quick advising questions answered on the spot, or you can email your advisor directly or schedule an advising appointment.  

Similarly, if you’re having to quarantine because you’re sick and have to miss some synchronous or face to face class meetings, or if you have some other COVID-related challenge and need help figuring out how to stay current with your class obligations, please reach out to your faculty member for help. The Dean of Students office is also here to help if you need a little help figuring all this out. A university the size of our can be bewildering, and the staff in the Dean of Students office are holding virtual office hours if you just can’t quite figure out who to reach out to.  

We are both so excited that you are a part of our Vaquero family––have a great semester, everyone!   


Dr. Janna Arney, Interim Provost & Deputy President 


Dr. Jonikka Charlton, Associate Vice President for Student Success & Dean of University College 

Source: Message was sent via email from Office of Student Success on August 25, 2020.