Four kinds of online courses II

A previous post stated the first challenge for an online college instructor is to make clear to students which kind of online course they are running.  The post identified 4 kinds of online courses.  This diagram arrays them across two dimensions.  The gaps suggest some additional possibilities as well as provide a schema to think about varieties of face to face courses.


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

2 Responses to Four kinds of online courses II

  1. On the y axis, I would swap the “entirely self-paced” and “activities and assignments each week” elements. That way as you go up the axis the intensity increases which then also relates to the x axis arrangement. Also, thinking about it would seem that the main tensions I’ve encountered are between students who are expecting 1 or 2 and are end up in a situation that is more like 3 or 4.

  2. The Y-axis order has now been switched.

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