Student Handbook for Online and Hybrid Classes

While online instruction can be convenient for students with busy schedules, it also requires dedication, discipline, and independence. The purpose of this guide is to help students find resources they need to succeed in online, hybrid, and partially online classes. 

Identifying Modes of Instruction

CUNY has designated the following codes that define how much online time you can expect in a class.

  • P = In-Person. No course assignments and no required activities delivered online. Note: this designation does not mean that digital tools won’t be required in the course.
  • W = Web-Enhanced. No scheduled class meetings are replaced, but some of the course content and assignments, as well as required or optional activities, are online.
  • PO = Partially online. Up to 32% of scheduled class meetings are replaced with online activities or virtual meetings. Between twenty minutes to fifteen hours of required online work per semester could replace time spent in the classroom.
  • H =  Hybrid. (Blended). Between 33% and 80% of scheduled class meetings are replaced with online activities or virtual meetings. Between twelve to thirty-seven hours of required online work per semester will replace time spent in the classroom.
  • O = Online. More than 80% but less than 100% of scheduled class meetings are replaced with online activities or virtual meetings. Between twenty-eight to forty-six hours per semester will replace time spent in the classroom.
  • FO = Fully online. 100% of scheduled class meetings are replaced with online activities or virtual meetings. All of the class work, including exams, is online.

Registering for an Online or Hybrid Class

When you register for classes in CUNYFirst, you need to click on the course description in order to see the mode of instruction.

For detailed information on how to set up a CUNYFirst account, search for classes, and register, see:

Managing Expectations

Just like in traditional classes, online class time will be supplemented by homework. Successful college students are independently motivated and organized. The requirements of self-motivation, accountability, and responsibility increase in online and hybrid courses.

Following the guidelines below will help you succeed in online and hybrid courses.

  • Devote sufficient time in your schedule to the online instruction and its associated homework. Assume that every hour of class time comes with at least two hours of study time (for example, if a hybrid class meets online for one and a half hours per week, expect three hours of homework in addition to that online session).
  • Make a schedule for online class time, in-person class time, and study time for each. Routines can help students become successful. A good rule of thumb is to schedule two hours of study time for each hour of class time. So for a three hour per week class, assume that you will have six additional work hours outside of class.
  • If you share a computer or workspace, or your primary computer is in a public space, negotiate time and privacy with other users so that you have reliable access to the tools you need.
  • Ensure that you have access to the technology the course requires by reviewing the minimum technology requirements on the following page, and contacting the instructor with questions.

Minimum Technology Requirements

All online, hybrid, partially online, and web-enhanced classes at Baruch College assume that students have:

  • A reliable Internet connection.
  • Regular access to a laptop or desktop computer with an updated operating system.
  • Working knowledge of how to use word processing software and web browsers.
  • An active Baruch College webmail account that is checked daily (or forwarded to an email that is checked daily).
  • A CUNY Portal account.
  • Access to Blackboard.
  • A Blogs@Baruch account.
  • A CUNYFirst account.
  • Off-campus access to the library’s online databases.

Some online or hybrid classes will require that you:

  • Have access to a webcam.
  • Are able to use social networking sites (including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and social bookmarking sites).
  • Purchase or learn additional applications.

Carefully read the course description to get an idea of what technology and time commitments you can expect. If you still have questions, send the instructor a politely-worded email asking for clarification of specific aspects of the course. If a faculty member cannot clearly demonstrate to you what technologies are required for their online or hybrid class, then contact the department in which the course is being offered.

Baruch Computing and Technology Center (BCTC) offers a variety of services for students, such as laptop and iPad loans, computer labs, software and hardware discounts, and training.

Prevention is the Best Cure

Just as students can’t always get to campus on time due to events beyond their control, course websites might be unexpectedly unavailable, internet connections might be weak, and computers might crash. When working online, back work up frequently.

  • Save files: When composing blog, social media, or discussion board responses, save them in a word processing file or text file (Text Edit on a Mac or NotePad on Windows).
  • Keep your files organized in folders by class, and within those folders by units of the class. Your work will quickly pile up, and establishing a system for easily locating materials you’ve produced for your coursework is immensely valuable.
  • Regularly backup your files to an external drive or cloud storage.
  • Plan ahead. Don’t leave things until the last minute. Especially in online work, planning is important. Attempt to have the work complete at least a few hours, if not a full day, ahead of the deadline. If you are using technologies for the first time, schedule additional time to become familiar with those technologies.

Try Hard To Create a Community with Your Classmates

  • Take advantage of any opportunities your professor offers for social interaction online, and always participate in online discussions.
  • When responding to colleagues’ posts or comments, use their names and refer back to specific aspects of their posts.
  • The same rules of polite and respectful behavior that govern classroom behavior apply online.
    • If you are taking a hybrid class, make sure to attend all of the in-person meetings.
  • Get contact numbers and email addresses for at least a few of your classmates.
    • Ideally, these contacts will have the same schedule as you (for example, if you do most of your work after midnight, try to find a peer who will be up at this hour, too). If you have questions at an odd hour, this is someone who could help you.

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

The BCTC help desk offers student support for Baruch email, Blackboard, Baruch’s wireless network, CUNYFirst, and printing.

  • In-person requests: BCTC is located on the 6th floor of the Library and Technology Building at 151 East 25th Street. Have your student ID handy.
  • Phone requests: (646) 312-1010. Be prepared to state your Baruch username.
  • Email requests: Send it from your Baruch email and detail the problem.
  • For help with Blogs@Baruch:
  • Avoid asking your professor to solve software or hardware problems. If you have a significant issue that impairs your performance in the class, alert the professor and clarify the steps you are taking to fix the problem.

Finally, the skills necessary for success in online and hybrid courses apply to traditional courses as well. Do not hesitate to make polite suggestions to your faculty members and college staff about ways they might improve their courses and services. Such feedback is welcome! 

Updated June 4, 2014