Glossary of Terms

Key terms or phrases for teaching and learning

Asynchronous teaching:

Students rely on the learning management system (Canvas), discussion boards, email, recorded lectures, and other media or course materials to learn from the instructor without participating in real-time sessions, or synchronous sessions. Students participate individually, but they can still interact with other students and participate in group assignments on their own time. Instructors define how they will interact with students to address questions.

Blended learning:

Blended learning refers to a combination of in-person and online learning. The “blend” of the two occurs throughout the semester. Students participate in online and in-person activities at different times. As an example, students might watch a lecture online and then go to a lab to conduct an experiment in small groups.


Canvas serves as Yale’s learning management system (LMS). An LMS helps faculty manage course materials and activities online. Faculty post their syllabus, view their class roster, open discussion boards, create online assignments, post course content, share lecture videos, and much more. Yale automatically creates a Canvas site for each course (excluding the School of Medicine) and enrolls students in the course; however, faculty are responsible for publishing the course and posting their course materials. Students cannot see the course until it is published. Zoom scheduling is integrated into Canvas.

Hybrid teaching:

Instructors teach both online and in-person with students participating in both formats. It is similar to the blended learning model, but it requires more instructional flexibility as some students might remain online while others might have the ability to participate in-person.

Synchronous Learning:

Students participate during class in real-time either using video conferencing technology (Zoom) and chat discussions or, by meeting in-person. The instructor conducts the class and manages participation by asking and answering questions, sharing polls, and presenting the information in their lesson.


Zoom serves as Yale’s video conferencing solution. Faculty and students can use Zoom for live class, office hours, department meetings, and more. Faculty can schedule class sessions on Zoom through Canvas. All Yale faculty, students, and staff should ensure they have a Yale licensed Zoom account; this provides additional features and security.