Ways to Study at SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire Course Mode Dictionary

Teaching and learning at SUNY Empire uses a vast array of instructional modes in ways that best suit students’ needs and course content. Some instructional modes are location-based and require pre-scheduled in-person meetings, whereas others depend on different tools and technologies. The college community uses a common vocabulary to describe its instructional modes as defined below, including the expectations and requirements for faculty-student engagement associated with each mode. Students can find current information about any course section in the term guide.

Undergraduate Study Options:

ICL (Immersive Cloud Learning): an instructor-led class that uses the College’s ICL video conferencing technology to bring together an instructor(s) from one college location with a group or groups of students who are participating in the course at specified ICL rooms at a specified date and time. Information regarding days and times of scheduled ICL meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes and is included in the term guide.

Independent Study: an instructor-led one-to-one course (student and faculty member) with flexible contact/meetings arranged by the student and faculty member.

Internship/practicum: an instructor-led learning experience designed to give a student practical knowledge of their field, e.g. clinical experience.

Laboratory/Lab: an instructor-led course, or components of a course, in which all students are “practicing” an application of a scientific, technical, or creative nature.

Online: an instructor-led course conducted virtually, using the college’s Learning Management System (LMS). Online courses are offered both synchronously and asynchronously. If an online course includes synchronous meetings, information regarding days and times of those meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes via the term guide.

Residency: an instructor-led course that combines virtual learning or independent study and professional and academic enrichment opportunities with on-site, in-person meetings that occur on one or over several days. Information regarding days and times of scheduled synchronous meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes and is included in the term guide.

Study Group: an instructor-led course that includes regular in-person meetings with students. Information regarding days and times of scheduled meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes and is included in the term guide.

Virtual Exchange: an instructor-led educational practice that brings together students from across geographic boundaries in synchronous and asynchronous interactions. Available through but not limited to students in the International Education program.

Virtual Residency: an instructor-led course that combines virtual learning or independent study with scheduled virtual synchronous meetings that occur on one or over several days. Information regarding days and times of scheduled synchronous virtual meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes and is included in the term guide.

Virtual Study Group: an instructor-led course consisting of a combination of asynchronous activities and scheduled virtual synchronous meetings. Information regarding days and times of scheduled synchronous meetings is shared in advance of the first day of classes and is included in the term guide.

Other Learning Opportunities

Workshops: Noncredit workshops are offered regularly to students, particularly in the areas of writing and degree program portfolio development. Check the Workshops Calendar (MyESC log-in) to find out about workshops available to you.

Graduate Study Options

You complete your work in the School for Graduate Studies mainly through online courses, which provide you the opportunity to study at your convenience and still be able to interact with instructors, fellow students and your faculty advisor. You can access course resources and the fully online library, participate in discussion forums, conduct self-assessments and take advantage of other course enhancements, such as simulations and modeling.

The M.A. in adult learning, M.A. in learning and emerging technologies and the M.A. in community and economic development degree programs and the graduate certificate programs are fully online.

Residencies are required for some graduate programs. Residencies complement online courses by providing opportunities for you to network in person with faculty and students from across the state and country who share similar academic and professional interests.

Key Terms

  • Synchronously: student participation required at scheduled date and time.
  • Asynchronously: students learn independently, under the guidance of an instructor, and do not meet for scheduled classes.
  • Term Guide: A complete list of courses to be offered in the current or upcoming term. Available to students here.