Asynchronous Teaching

“Asynchronous [remote] learning, commonly facilitated by media such as e-mail and discussion boards, supports work relations among learners and with teachers, even when participants cannot be online at the same time. It is thus a key component of flexible [remote] learning…Asynchronous [remote] learning makes it possible for learners to log on to an e-learning environment at any time and download documents or send messages to teachers or peers. Students may spend more time refining their contributions, which are generally considered more thoughtful compared to synchronous communication.” (Hrastinski, 2008).

When to Use Asynchronous Teaching

Asynchronous instruction works well for delivery of content (ie, lectures, readings, videos, audio) and reflective activities as students have more time to interact with the material and think through their response because an immediate answer is not expected.


  • Do students need to be able to create connections between content or reflect on complex ideas?
  • What kind of home learning environment do students have?  Are there family, work, or technology issues that may interfere with meeting in real-time?

Best Practices

  • Send regular announcements to recap general concepts and to remind students about important tasks and topics for the week.
  • Be sure to provide a “channel” (ie, Canvas discussions or Microsoft Teams) and guidelines for student questions about the course.
  • Include a “netiquette” statement that describes your expectations for asynchronous discussion and interaction.
  • Consider podcasts and video talks to deliver content in addition to readings and the occasional narrated PPT.  You do NOT need to recreate the wheel and record videos for every topic.
  • Record lecture content in 5-7 minute segments.  Research shows that students will watch a larger percentage of course videos that are shorter versus longer (Brame, 2016).
  • Use Canvas Modules to organize course content to guide students on the order that they should read, watch, do, and discuss.
  • Consider collaborating with colleagues teaching the same courses or course concepts to share the workload.

Key Tools & Resources

Works Cited

Brame C. J. (2016). Effective Educational Videos: Principles and Guidelines for Maximizing Student Learning from Video Content. CBE life sciences education, 15(4), es6.

Hrastinski, S. (2008, November 17). Asynchronous and Synchronous E-Learning. Retrieved from