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Time (synchronous)

In this article, Neil Hughes talks about synchronous time.
Abstract painting of watches, clocks and cogs in a vortex of blue, black and white swirls.
© University of Nottingham

In blended learning, time is conceptualised as either synchronous or asynchronous. The synchronous mode refers to teaching and learning that takes place in real time with teachers and students attending together. Conversely, the asynchronous mode relates to those aspects of a course that take place free from temporal constraints at the learner’s discretion.

There is a tendency in blended learning to think of these temporal modes as being synonymous with either particular learning spaces or education technologies. For example, synchronous teaching, as Newcombe (2018) suggests, is normally associated with physical campuses and classrooms:

“Blended learning models … include an integration of active face-to-face on-campus learning activities with well developed online learning activities.”

Like many other things, this association has been turned on its head by the Covid 19 pandemic. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a university teacher or student that hasn’t either delivered or attended a synchronous class via an online video conferencing tool such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

© University of Nottingham
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Blended and Hybrid Learning Design in Higher Education

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