ION | Illinois Online Network

Making the Virtual Classroom a Reality

Synchronous Classrooms

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This instructor-led, four-week, fully-online course will move beyond the well-known asynchronous learning environment and explore the ideas behind and skills needed to teach online in real time - synchronously. By addressing the pedagogical foundations first and then identifying and practicing the new skill sets, the course will prepare participants to better plan and manage the synchronous classroom.

Please confirm that you are able to attend all synchronous sessions listed below before enrolling.


Faculty and staff who want to acquire pedagogical and technical skills needed to successfully teach synchronous courses online.


Participants will explore in depth the following topics:

  • An overview of the underlying pedagogical assumptions behind asynchronous and synchronous teaching and learning.

  • The text-based synchronous classroom, possible tools and skill sets needed to teach most effectively.

  • The voice-based synchronous classroom, possible tools and skill sets needed to teach most effectively.

  • The multi-modal synchronous classroom, possible tools and skill sets needed to teach most effectively.


Module 1 - What is Synchronous Learning?
We will begin to look at the general topic of synchronous learning and compare and contrast this with asynchronous teaching.

Module 2 - Many Different Tools
In this module we will look at the text-based and voice-based synchronous classrooms. We will discuss appropriate uses of these methods of teaching, and we will identify characteristics of the successful online facilitator, as well as course management issues.

Modules 3 & 4 - Multi-modal Synchronous Presentation Tools
In these final modules we will experience one of the newer technologies that allow instructors to deliver real-time instruction with voice, graphics, text chat and sometimes video.


By addressing the pedagogical foundations first and then identifying and practicing the new skill sets, the course will prepare participants to better plan and manage the synchronous classroom.


  • Distinguish the pedagogical value of asynchronous discussion versus synchronous communication and make decisions about the use of each tool appropriately for their teaching situations.
  • Determine the appropriate applications of text based chat, voice based chat and multi-modal synchronous delivery systems in their courses.
  • Plan a voice chat session with instructional objectives, an agenda, and a plan for trouble shooting.
  • Identify instructor competencies necessary to facilitate a meaningful synchronous delivery systems.
  • Plan and experience content delivery and the art of getting others engaged and active in a multi-modal synchronous delivery system, like Elluminate.


4 weeks


You may take this course without any course prerequisites.


  • Log into the course a minimum of three times a week to stay active and involved.

  • Read the instructor's lesson introductions and assigned articles from the Web.

  • Answer weekly discussion questions related to the assigned Web articles.

  • Prepare and submit other assignments (e.g. synchronous session plans, contributions to course wiki)

  • Engage in positive and meaningful dialog with classmates concerning the course subject matter.

  • Attend the required synchronous sessions.

  • Write a summary of the key items covered each week and how they apply to your field of teaching.

Technical Requirements

  • Windows: A Pentium II 266 Mhz with 128MB of memory and sound card or

  • Mac OS X 10.3 or newer: A g3 233 Mhz with 128MB of memory

  • Computer Speakers

  • Computer Microphone

  • Skype Telephony Software Installed (Free Download at

  • Elluminate Live Software Installed (Information mailed upon enrolling)


Completely Online. Several forms of communication will be used during this course.

Moodle Forums
Moodle discussion forums are the heart of this online course. It is where you will submit all of your assignments, and where you will discuss your work with your classmates.

Text-based Chat
Skype allows internet users to chat one-on-one or with up to a total of 50 people at once.

Voice-based Chat
Skype allows internet users to make phone calls from one computer to another for free. tool and when?

Elluminate Live
Elluminate is an example of a multi-modal synchronous delivery system. You will be required to attend one Elluminate Live session in Module 4 during your regularly scheduled synchronous session time.

You have the ability to subscribe to Moodle discussions so that you can read course activity within your email client. This is also one means of communicating privately with classmates or instructors.

The telephone is still sometimes the most effective mode for troubleshooting technology problems or other issues related to the course. Your instructor's phone numbers and other contact information can be found above.


You will probably spend a minimum of 10 hours a week working on the course itself, including time spent reading, writing to respond to questions and interact with classmates, downloading and installing necessary software and attending the required synchronous sessions. While the asynchronous online format provides flexibility as to when and where participants learn, the synchronous classroom requires real time meetings. This course will meet on the following days and times for one hour. Please be prepared to schedule a minimum of a half an hour before each session to configure your computer, etc.

  • Monday, March 23, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. CT
  • Monday, March 30, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. CT
  • Monday, April 6, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. CT
  • Monday, April 13, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. CT

Participants are required to log on to the course a minimum of 3 times a week, but as discussions develop, you will probably log on more often (4-5 days a week).

Credit Options

Continuing Education Credit (CEU Credit)
4 Continuing education units (CEU credit) are available for this course.


A fee is incurred for anyone enrolled in an Advanced Online Seminar, although there is a discount for ION members. (Only Diamond level ION partners are exempt.) The fee is determined by the number of contact hours and online discussion requirements for the course. To view the fee schedule for a specific section of this course, visit the Schedule and click on the link for that section (e.g. TM1051).

Taking a course for Graduate Credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS):
Most MVCR courses [not the Advanced Online Seminars] may be taken for graduate credit through UIS. You do not pay twice if you choose this route. You pay only the tuition and fees associated with UIS enrollment. If you choose to enroll through UIS, you need to follow the instructions. You do not register through this site.

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Taking Courses for Academic Credit

Most 8-week MVCR courses can also be taken for academic credit through the University of Illinois at Springfield.

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Suggested Tracks

Instruction Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Encouraging Comm.
  • Elective
  • Practicum

Technology Centric

  • Online Learning
  • Technology Tools
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Elective (Multimedia or Sims, Labs, Games, and VR)
  • Practicum

Support Professional

  • Online Learning
  • Instructional Design
  • Student Assessment
  • Universal Design
  • Elective (Supporting Students, Copyright, Global eLearning, Blended/Hybrid, Librarians Collaborating, Multimedia Principles)
  • Practicum

COLA - track

  • Administration Seminar
  • Quality Assurance
  • Issues and Strategies in Faculty Training
  • Supporting Students Online

Choose one of the following three for your elective:

  • Administration of Online Programs
  • Copyright
  • Blended - Hybrid Learning Design and Instruction
  • Practicum for Administrators
What They're Saying
"Online courses won't necessarily replace traditional courses. However, it never occurred to me until this week that teaching online courses might improve my delivery of traditional courses."     

MVCR Participant

Award winning courses

The MVCR program won the Award for Excellence in ALN Faculty Develop-ment (in conjunction with other ION programs) from the Sloan-consortium in 2002. One of our instructors won the WebCT Exemplary Online Course Award for an MVCR course as well.

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