At Harvard Extension School, we offer flexible course options to help you balance school, career, and other life commitments.
Three Participation Options
Online Synchronous. Most of our courses are held live online (eastern time).
Online Asynchronous. 35% do not require live attendance.
On Campus. 20% provide the option to attend on campus.
We review the content and pedagogy of every course before assigning the participation option, choosing the one that optimizes the highest quality learning outcome. You can search courses by participation option.
Online Synchronous Courses
Online synchronous participation happens over Zoom so you can see, hear and speak with your classmates.
When you use the “Online Synchronous” search filter, you’ll find:
- Live attendance web conference courses, held entirely live over Zoom.
- Online synchronous courses with a required on-campus weekend, which have class meetings in Zoom plus a required weekend on campus.
- Flexible attendance courses that offer the option to participate synchronously online. These courses may give you the option to watch class recordings and participate asynchronously online. You may also be able to attend on campus. Please see the meeting information for details about which options are available in your course.
Online Asynchronous Courses
In online asynchronous courses, you are not required to attend class at a particular time. Instead you can complete the course work on your own schedule each week.
When you use the “Online Asynchronous” search filter, you’ll find:
- Online courses that give you materials to work through each week with discussion boards or live section meetings for support.
- Streamed Harvard University courses, live Harvard College courses that are recorded so you can participate on demand.
- Flexible attendance courses that offer the option to participate asynchronously. These courses may also give you the option to participate synchronously online or on campus. Please see the meeting information for details about which options are available in your course.
When you use the “On Campus” search filter, you’ll find:
- Courses that meet live on campus, including:
- Active learning weekend courses
- 1- or 3-week January session courses
- Some premedical courses
- Online synchronous courses with a required on-campus weekend, which have class meetings over Zoom plus a required weekend on campus.
- Flexible attendance courses that offer the option to participate on campus. These courses may also give you the option to participate online synchronously or asynchronously. Please see the meeting information for details about which options are available in your course.
In Harvard Summer School, we also offer a range of courses on campus, across different subject areas and different parts of term. When searching on the summer term, you’ll find these options.
Labs and Section Meetings
For any course type, there may be separate labs or section meetings. Information about the days and times of labs or sections will be listed on the course syllabus or announced by the teaching staff once class begins.
Canvas Course Websites
Every course has a website, which you can access on the Canvas platform. This will be your home base for the course and where you will find:
- Zoom meeting links (learn more about Zoom requirements)
- The syllabus
- Class materials
Logging In: Using Your HarvardKey
To access your course website, you will log in with your HarvardKey, your University login and password. When you first register for a course, you receive a Harvard University ID number and a prompt to claim your HarvardKey.
The two-step authentication process, which adds additional security to your account, will require periodic use of either a smartphone, app, or landline-based verification. Learn more about the Harvard University ID number and HarvardKey.
Computer Specifications & Internet Connection
Windows and Macintosh
- 2GHz or faster processor, 8GB or more of RAM
- Please maintain an up-to-date operating system and web browser.
We do not support:
- Taking courses on mobile devices
- Beta versions of any software
- Operating systems discontinued by manufacturers
You need a minimum internet speed of 5 Mbps. The recommended speed is 10 Mbps. Check your Internet speed.
If your course uses Zoom and you have not used it before, the program will automatically download when you join your first meeting.
- You are required to use a webcam during class.
- Be prepared to use a microphone during class. We recommend a Logitech H390 headset, but any headset should be adequate.
- You are expected to join from a suitable, quiet location with a computer that permits full participation in the class activities. Please review the full Participation and Attendance requirements. If you do not adhere to all participation requirements you may be removed from your class meeting.
Training and Documentation
- Sign up for Zoom training on our web conference information page or visit our Zoom training video.
- Learn to make the most of our course video player through the Media Player Help Page.
Technical Questions and Computer/Software Troubleshooting
- Call (617) 998-8571 Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 am–11 pm (Summer School hours: Monday-Thursday 9 am-10 pm); Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 am–8 pm.
- Email: AcademicTechnology@dce.harvard.edu
Enrollment Services (Registration, Access, and General Questions)
- Call (617) 495-4024 Mondays–Fridays, 9 am–5 pm, eastern time
- Email: email@example.com
Online Technology Status Page
- Check on the status of our course platforms (Canvas, Zoom, etc.)