An asynchronous online degree is a type of college degree that you earn online while taking classes and completing assignments via an online portal or platform like Blackboard. It is an alternative to synchronous learning, which was a format that many early online programs followed. With synchronous learning, you log in at a dedicated time every day and watch lectures in real time as your professors lead their classes. Asynchronous learning and degree programs offer a number of benefits over synchronous programs.

Parts of the Program

When you sign up for one of these classes, you start out with a short and simple introductory phase. This gives you the chance to tell your teacher more about you, learn what the teacher expects from you over the course of the program and interact with some of your classmates. The teacher will post the syllabus online to show you when assignments are due, what readings you need to do each week and any work you will do too. Most courses require that you answer an essay question based on the week’s readings and that you post responses and comments on the answers posted by other students. Asynchronous courses give you the option of logging in and doing work each week prior to the deadline set by your teacher.

Role of Teachers

Teachers leading these classes take on a few different roles every semester. They are curriculum designers and developers because they are responsible for deciding what materials to teach, sourcing external information for students and creating tests, quizzes and other assignments. Online professors must also form connections with their students and ensure that those students can reach them online and offline. The role of an online teacher is also one of a facilitator because they must ensure that students understand the materials presented to them and that they develop the skills needed to pass that course.

Benefits of Asynchronous Learning

One possible benefit of an asynchronous online degree, according to U.S. News & World Report author Devon Haynie, is that students can take these courses when they have time. Instead of feeling forced to follow a set schedule, they can work before or after work and around all the other commitments they have. These programs also emphasize the importance of interacting with peers. Even though you might live on opposite sides of the world, you’ll have the chance to read what others think and find out how their own experiences influenced their methods of thinking.

Potential Problems

A potential problem associated with asynchronous online learning is that it sometimes gives students too much freedom. You might find yourself putting off work and other assignments because you know you have more time to complete that work. These programs also require that students have access to the Internet and a computer or similar device. If your Internet goes down because of a storm or a power outage, you might lose points on assignments and even drop a letter grade because you could not complete your work.

Asynchronous online learning is a good option for those who can stick to deadlines and complete work without a teacher standing over their shoulders. An asynchronous online degree lets you earn a college degree while working from home and logging into the dedicated system to complete work and interact with others a few times a week.