Skip to content

COVID-19 Updates: Review our guidelines and mandatory policies for on-campus presence.

Course Formats & Required Technology

We understand that you need flexible course options to balance school, career, and other life commitments. We offer a variety of ways for you to take courses so you can find the option that works best with your schedule, including courses that meet online, on campus in the evening, at a scheduled time weekly or a bit more self-paced through the semester. 

Please note, for any course type, there may be separate labs or section and review meetings. The days and times of those are either listed in the descriptions, on the website, on the syllabus, or announced by the teaching staff once class begins.

Online (Live) Web-Conference Courses

These online web-conference courses meet at a scheduled time, and you are required to be present online, live, at that time. Meeting schedules are listed in course descriptions. Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines below for more information.

Online (Live or on Demand) Web Conference Courses

These online web-conference courses meet at a scheduled time, and you participate in class live at that time or watch recorded sessions on demand, while keeping up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. The recorded sessions typically are posted to the course website within a few hours of the end of the class and no later than the following business day.

Please see the Web Conference Technology Guidelines and Course Video Technology Guidelines below for more information.

Online Courses

These courses meet only online. No specific meeting schedule is listed but you are required to keep up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. See course syllabi and websites for specific course information and expectations.

Some of these courses are based on Harvard College or other Harvard courses. The class meetings are recorded and posted to the course website within a few hours of the end of the class and no later than the following business day. You can watch the recorded class meetings at your convenience and participate on your own schedule within the bounds of assignment due dates and course expectations.

See the Course Video Technology Guidelines below for more information. 

On-Campus Courses

On-campus courses meet on the Harvard campus at the day, time, and location listed in the course description. You are required to attend live, in person, and on campus on that schedule.

On-Campus or Online

Students in On-Campus or Online courses have three options for attendance: you can attend in person, attend live online in real time, or watch the recordings of class and participate on demand, keeping up with posted deadlines for assignments and exams. Class recordings will be posted within 24 hours of the class meeting.

Live online participation comes in two forms. In some courses, the class is live streamed and you can communicate via text-based chat. In others, you attend through web conference, which is broadcast on large monitors in the classroom so you can interact with the class just as you would in person. Check the course description for specific information about live participation for each course.

In a few courses, you are required to attend at the time the course meets. This is explicitly noted in the course description and syllabus.

See the Course Video Technology Guidelines Below for more information.

Online Courses With a Required On-Campus Weekend

In an Online Course with a Required On-Campus Weekend, you participate online for most of the course, and you attend an intensive weekend class on campus. Information about the format of the online meetings and the dates of the intensive weekend meeting are outlined in the course description.

Active Learning Weekends

All Active Learning Weekends (ALW) meet on campus over an intensive weekend and allow you to explore a topic in depth through a combination of simulations, discussions, interviews, group work, presentations, and hands-on activities.

Some ALWs are standalone, 2-credit courses. You will be assigned reading to prepare, and you will complete a paper or project in the two weeks following the weekend.

Others are noncredit weekends that do not require pre- or post-work but extend the learning of the corequisite online 4-credit course. These ALWs require concurrent, same-semester enrollment in the corequisite course (e.g., PSYC 1017 Grief, corequisite, and PSYC 1017W Grief: Active Learning Weekend). Please see course description for specific information.

Prospective and admitted degree candidates: The 2-credit ALW option requires you to enroll in two ALWs to earn 4-credits of on-campus coursework. Noncredit ALWs offer you 4-credits of on-campus credits for the corequisite course.

Course Video Technology Guidelines

Accessing Course Video

Course videos are available to registered students on the Course Videos page of their course website. Videos are typically available within a few hours of the end of class and no later than the following business day. The video player provides many helpful options to students including: transcripts and captions, multiple playback speeds, and configurable viewing windows for the classroom and the presentation materials. Details on the features of the player and how to use them are available on the Media Player Help Page.

Course Demos

The following sample lectures will give you a sense of the online course experience:

Technical Requirements and Log-In Instructions

1. Verify Minimum Computer Specifications

Windows
  • 2GHz or faster processor, 8GB or more of RAM
  • Please maintain an up to date operating system and web browser.
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 or viewing videos on mobile devices
  • Linux/Chromebook
  • Beta versions of any software
  • Operating systems discontinued by manufacturers

2. Check Connection Speed

You need a minimum Internet speed of 5 Mbps. The recommended speed is 20 Mbps. Check your Internet speed at http://www.speedof.me

3. 2-Step Authentication

Harvard’s two-step authentication will require periodic use of either a smartphone, app, or phone-based verification.

4. Watch Lecture Videos

Once you have registered and classes begin, be sure to:

  • Visit your course website (linked in the course description).
  • Choose “Class Meetings” from the menu on the course website.
  • Select the video you would like to watch.
  • Log in to watch the video using your HarvardKey (note: videos cannot be downloaded).

Web-Conference Technology Guidelines

Prepare to Use the Software

Courses that use web conferencing for class meetings and section meetings use Zoom.

If this is your first course using Zoom you must complete a training before the first class session. Please go to the web conference information page to find upcoming live training dates and times. Alternatively, watch our training video.

The meeting link for your class or section meeting is available on the course website. If this is your first time using Zoom, the program will automatically download when you join your first meeting.

Participation Requirements

1. Computer minimum specifications:

Windows
  • 2GHz or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  • Please install the most recent operating system and web browser.
Macintosh
  • 2GHz or faster processor, 8GB RAM
  •  Please install the most recent operating system and web browser.
We do not support
  • Taking courses or viewing videos on mobile devices
  • Linux/Chromebook
  • Beta versions of any software

2. Internet Speeds

Download/upload: minimum 4 Mbps, wired connection recommended. (Course staff minimum is 5 Mbps.)

Can check at https://speedof.me/

3. Video

Students are required to use a webcam during class.

4. Audio

Be prepared to use a microphone during class. Do not use the microphone that is built into your computer. We recommend a Logitech H390 headset, but any headset should be adequate. Avoid wireless headphones if possible.

5. Student Conduct

Students 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.

Getting Help

Online Support (Technical Questions and Computer/Software Troubleshooting)

Enrollment Services (Registration, Access, and General Questions)

Online Technology Status Page

http://status.dce.harvard.edu