Where can I find more synchronous (live) online courses?
December 8, 2019 4:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find online synchronous courses - adult learner or college-level. I'm having the hardest time.

A few years ago I took a class through Harvard Extension that met once a week, online, for 2 hours. The class content was amazing, but I also loved the format. I could go into my office at home, have my class, and still put my kid to bed.

The class had maybe 30 people in it, we would often break into small groups for discussion. We all got to know each other pretty well and this certain class had one weekend where we all had to meet in person.

I'd like to find more classes like this (I'm mostly looking for English lit, writing or history-type classes), but am having the hardest time. Harvard Extension is great, but the class was over $2k and I only splurged b/c the instructor was a favorite writer of mine.

I have signed up for a few typical online courses and... I just don't do it. If I don't have a time and date to show up, I just end up wasting my money.

Wondering if anyone knows of similar classes or knows where the heck I should be looking (I'm googling "synchronous" and "live" and I'm really not finding anything).
posted by jdl to Education (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Look for "distance learning" maybe? Also try "hybrid" as a search term? I think if you meet in person at all (even just once), they don't get classified as online. I would guess a hybrid class is more likely to use synchronous tech.

The Texas Tech link has this explanation that uses the terms a/synchronous but it sounds like they are all categorized as online: "Online courses are taught in a variety of formats, including asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid (descriptions below). If you aren't sure about how a course will be delivered, check the course description... Meeting times for synchronous and hybrid classes will appear on your schedule."

I took a super neat class that was a multi-university climate change class through United Nations University and several other universities in the Pacific. We met at our respective campuses, but then used the dedicated videoconferencing classroom so we could hear and see the classes in other countries.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:48 PM on December 8, 2019

I think that with distance-learning students in living in different time zones, online synched course offerings have lately fallen out of favor. My last online class, through Colorado State, had a couple of synched lectures-with-discussion, but these were not mandatory and the material was archived. Some students (not the people in Hawaii) (nor I, tbh) arranged to be in the course's chatroom at the same time for a weekly study group session; if you committed to something similar as part of taking the class - like if you suggested it during week 1 introductions, and 'hosted' the chat - maybe that would help?

At East Tennessee State: "Synchronous online courses do require the student to be logged in from their desktop or laptop computer at specific class times... These courses are identified in GoldLink with a 990-999 section number and "Web-Based" as the instructional method."

This article (updated 8/2019) claims coursera has synchronous courses, but I'm not seeing how to sort for that (though I did not register for the free account, & maybe that unlocks the feature).

Virginia's Old Dominion U Online uses the phrase "Live Web Classes."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:55 PM on December 8, 2019

the other search term to use would also be "blended learning"
posted by coffee_monster at 1:41 AM on December 9, 2019

You didn't mention languages, but if you are interested in learning another language, I highly recommend the Workers Circle for learning Yiddish. They have live online courses (as well as in-person courses in NYC). They're in the $250-$350 range (member vs non member; full course vs mini).

And while it's not a course, I have heard good things about iTalki for learning languages. You connect one-on-one with language teachers through the site and meet through Skype or Zoom or a similar program for language instruction.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:38 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks all so much, these responses help a ton!
posted by jdl at 9:59 AM on December 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love this question! I was looking for the same thing not long ago and discovered that in Indiana the Ivy State community college system has a field for how synchronous (or not) their online classes are in their scheduling tool, so you can search for only the synchronous ones. On my phone now and in a bit of a rush so don't have a link the the scheduler (i think it is built on Open/close) but will try to post it later.
posted by elgee at 2:45 PM on December 9, 2019

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