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Update on course delivery modes

Feb. 16, 2022

At its February 4 meeting, Senate approved new course codes and definitions (PDF) for Winter Session 2022/23.

The new course codes are:

  • Face-to-face
  • Blended
  • Online with some face-to-face
  • Fully online

There is also a definition for multi-access. Note that the existing course codes for work terms and exchange courses remain unchanged. The definitions will be reflected in the timetable.

Project background

University leaders have been actively exploring the future of course and program delivery at UVic, building on our expertise pre-pandemic and applying what we learned during the pandemic. In fall 2020, the Vice-President Academic and Provost and Acting Vice-Provost met with each Faculty Council to hear their thoughts about the future of teaching and learning at UVic. We also surveyed students about their academic experience during the pandemic, which included feedback on their online courses.

In summer 2021, the Vice-President Academic and Provost established the Course Delivery Modes (CDM) Working Group to provide clarity and establish standard definitions of various course delivery modes at UVic. The Working Group was chaired by the Acting AVP Academic Planning with representatives from three academic faculties, VPAC, LTSI, OREG and USEC.


Recognizing that the working group could not represent the diversity of campus perspectives on course delivery modes, the group consulted extensively with deans, associate deans, chairs/directors, faculty and instructors. Students were consulted through meetings with student leaders and student groups, as well as an online questionnaire open to all students.

The majority of faculty, instructors and students consulted indicated a preference for an in-person campus experience, including face-to-face learning and teaching. Many also said that they appreciated aspects of the learning technologies now available. For example, of the students who responded to the questionnaire, 75% indicated that they appreciated being able to watch or listen to recorded lectures multiple times. A small proportion of students expressed that the online learning experience improved their access to post-secondary education, and that online course options help them to balance their  schooling with other priorities. Faculty and instructors also indicated that they appreciate the flexibility in delivery modes.

Changing a course's delivery mode

Instructors and programs have autonomy for their face-to-face (F2F) courses. No approval is required as long as the stated threshold of online elements in the approved definitions is not exceeded. Review and approval will be required to shift delivery mode of courses or programs as approved by Senate (e.g., shifting from F2F to blended, fully online or online with some F2F).

Academic units and programs are best suited to determine their own delivery modalities. Chairs and directors (or associate deans in non-departmentalized faculties) will bring forward requests for changes to course delivery modes (individual courses as identified by CRN) to their dean. Approval by the dean will be based on factors such as:

  • individual course requirements and learning outcomes;
  • program requirements and outcomes;
  • accreditation and other regulatory requirements;
  • maintenance of program standards such as academic integrity;
  • student needs;
  • alignment with principles of equity, diversity and inclusion; and
  • creating the best possible academic and graduation outcomes for students.

Instructors' personal preferences alone are insufficient to justify changes to delivery modes.

Changes must be in keeping with the overall quality of the academic program and not undermine the academic intent and content of the program, as approved by Senate, and relevant academic policy and regulations. Chairs, directors and deans will ensure the balance of teaching modes is appropriate to the discipline. Where the approving authorities in cross-listing units disagree, the dean(s) of the faculty(ies) shall consult with the AVP Academic Planning, who will be responsible for making a final decision regarding course delivery mode.

Oversight and accountability 

All academic leaders, faculty and instructors are accountable to students, to ensure they receive a high-quality education. As an institution, we are also accountable to the provincial government regarding the delivery modes of our academic programming. As such, the Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost will annually monitor overall delivery modes for the university to ensure we remain a predominantly face-to-face institution and uphold our commitments to both government and our students. The Provost will continue to have oversight of all changes to delivery modes through the normal review and approval of the course timetable prior to publication. 

Academic units/programs that intend to make significant changes to delivery modes must seek Senate Committee on Planning review and approval and, ultimately, Senate approval as well.

Next steps

The definitions for these new codes will be available in the September 2022 edition of the Academic Calendar, to be published May 15, 2022, and will be reflected in the upcoming Winter Session timetable, also available in May.

These codes have been added to the Data Capture Utility, which is open now for academic units to submit their timetable requests for the upcoming Winter Session timetable. On Feb. 15, the Office of the Registrar emailed all Data Capture Utility users alerting them to the Senate-approved course delivery modes. 

On. Feb. 18, Dr. Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey, Acting AVP Academic Planning will send an email to all faculty and instructors providing them with this information.