Skip to main content
Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland


Memorandum: Course Delivery Methods


To: All Faculty and Instructors on Record
From: Jennifer King Rice, Senior Vice President and Provost
Re: Course Delivery Methods
Date: 4.14.2023

The University of Maryland offers a robust environment for teaching, learning, research, and community engagement. These activities take place in a variety of forms; many rely on our identity as a residential institution that places academic activity in a community setting of students and faculty, while others are conducted remotely.

Over the past few years, students, faculty, and staff have learned a lot about the unique value of in-person activities, as well as the energy and connection they experience by coming together at the same time and in the same place. They have also come to understand how and when it can be effective to meet remotely and what opportunities virtual meetings can afford. 

As the campus charts a post-pandemic course forward, it is important to have a common set of principles to guide colleges, departments, and other units in determining the right combination of in-person, blended, and online course formats for undergraduate instruction during regular academic semesters. Please note that the majority of winter and summer term courses are offered online, which are separate from the considerations outlined here.

To this end, the Provost’s office offers the following guidance for colleges, departments, and faculty. 

The following options are available in the Schedule of Classes.


Instruction and assessments are conducted through in-person sessions. Instruction and assessments may be enhanced with technology or even periodically “flipped” for asynchronous instruction, but there is no formal, consistent reduction in “seat time”  (this definition does not apply to independent studies, internships, externships, practica, study abroad, or dissertation/research courses). Instructional activities may include in-person class instruction and assessments supported by technology.

Blended (a.k.a. hybrid)

Required instruction and assessments are conducted through a scheduled combination of in-person and remote learning technology. Differentiated from a technology-enhanced in-person course, the “seat time” in a blended course is formally and consistently reduced for all students. This does not include ad hoc situations when remote sessions are employed due to special circumstances. Instructional activities may include scheduled in-person class time alternating with online activity (synchronous or asynchronous).

Required instruction is conducted completely with remote learning technology, whether synchronously or asynchronously. Students are not required to be in the same location as the instructor, except for assessments or academic support services that may be administered on campus or at regional centers. Any required in-person or live session dates/times should be made explicit through the notes section of a course listing. Instructional activities may include synchronous or live online sessions and asynchronous or self-paced learning; minimal in-person requirements are clearly listed in the course notes section.

Scheduling Principles 

Background considerations:

  • UMD does not currently offer fully online undergraduate degrees.
  • Students enroll at UMD expecting to have primarily in-person instruction. There may, however, be benefits to having some experience with remote learning.
  • Departments or units determine the appropriate mix of course delivery methods, with oversight by the colleges or other administrative entities.

Determining modalities involves balancing the following considerations:

  • Decisions related to instructional delivery methods should be driven by pedagogical goals to optimize students’ learning experiences and engagement opportunities.
  • High-quality instruction, irrespective of the delivery method, means curricula, teaching practices, and learning environments are standards-based, evidence-based, engaging, and culturally responsive.
  • All course sections should have consistent learning outcomes, regardless of differences in delivery method and term.

Additional considerations:

  • It may be beneficial to offer some sections online, particularly when multiple sections of a given course are offered and when students and instructors can opt into the modality they prefer.
  • Units should be attentive to diversity, equity, and inclusion when determining the course delivery method, as existing options have a differential impact on different groups of students. 
  • Different course delivery methods may require instructors to promote and adopt distinct strategies to ensure academic integrity.
  • Different course delivery methods may require students and instructors to explore differential reasonable accommodations according to policy. 

Future Directions

  • Institutional needs and preferences are likely to continue evolving in relation to changed conditions; these principles may need periodic reconsideration. 
  • There are insufficient quiet spaces around campus for students to participate in remote course-related activities if they have back-to-back in-person and online course activities.
  • Student surveys about experiences in classes (formerly course evaluations) might have specific questions about online learning. 
  • The terms in-person, blended, and online do not fully capture the complexities of course delivery; an updated Testudo should be more nuanced so students and faculty are clear about course modality. Currently, the label blended covers a wide variety of course experiences, ranging from predominantly in-person to predominantly online. 
  • Students appreciate when faculty optimize online engagement outside of class (office hours, advising, speakers, etc.).
  • The campus should develop data sources to better understand the impact of course modality on student learning.