Using traditional learning models, online courses are taught in a variety of different ways, depending on the material as well as the instructor's preferences. For instance, online students may be required to watch video lectures and/or documentaries, complete outside readings, investigate a topic, complete research projects, and/or upload narrated PowerPoint presentations. While students use technology to access course content, their assignments are usually fairly similar to those found at traditional universities.
While traditional universities typically emphasize lecture-based learning, online universities tend to emphasize seminar-type, or interactive, learning. Online courses are generally either facilitated or unfacilitated, and/or synchronous. Facilitated online courses are those where students work independently, accessing course content whenever they like. However, students taking facilitated courses are still obligated to meet deadlines. With unfacilitated courses, students are unable to contact instructors - all course content, feedback and scoring is managed by a learning management system.
Online courses with synchronous tools require students to interact with one another via either voice or text communication. Occasionally, students will be required to give visual presentations, where all students are able to view them simultaneously. Typically, synchronous sessions only occur once a week, since having students meet at the same time is difficult to coordinate.