Synchronous Teaching

“Synchronous e-learning, commonly supported by media such as videoconferencing and chat, has the potential to support [remote] learners in the development of learning communities. Learners and teachers experience synchronous e-learning as more social and avoid frustration by asking and answering questions in real time. Synchronous sessions help [remote] learners feel like participants rather than isolates.” (Hrastinski, 2008).

When to use Synchronous Teaching

Synchronous instruction is best for students to ask questions, review coursework, and individual or group presentations.


  • What kind of home learning environment do students have?  Are there family, work, or technology issues that may interfere with meeting in real-time?
  • How large is the class?  Real-time sessions with larger class sizes are difficult for students to participate in the discussion.

Best Practices

  • Record live sessions to post in Canvas for students who cannot participate during the schedule virtual class session.
  • Send meeting invites to remind students of scheduled, synchronous sessions.
  • Consider inviting guest speakers to your live sessions to give real-world perspectives about course concepts.
  • Include a “netiquette” statement that describes your expectations for asynchronous discussion and interaction.
  • Add your recurring WebEx meeting link to your Canvas course navigation.
  • Plan synchronous meetings with student groups for project updates.

Key Tools & Resources

Works Cited

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