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Fall 2020 Course Frequently Asked Questions


What is MSU Denver’s plan for classes in fall 2020? 

As we announced with our Auraria Campus partners on May 12, MSU Denver is planning to adopt a mixed approach to classes for fall 2020. After much discussion and input from our communities, we decided this was the best course of action as we work to balance the safety of students, faculty and staff, with our core educational mission. The mixed-modality approach will allow us to offer high-quality classes both on campus and online. 

How will the University determine which classes will meet in person and which will meet online? 

With what we know right now about social-distancing requirements and the limited space we have on campus, it is possible that two-thirds or more of fall 2020 classes may need to take place online. On-campus classes will be prioritized based on which require an in-person component to meet Student Learning Objectives (SLO). 

  • Tier 1 – On-campus required 
    • Classes that require an in-person component in order to meet SLOs. These classes would have to be canceled otherwise and will be given top priority. An example would be a chemistry lab where the learning can only be accomplished with the use of University resources and space and where expert oversight for safety (non-coronavirus-related) is mandatory.

  • Tier 2 – On-campus preferred
    • Classes for which an in-person component would be ideal but could meet minimum SLOs in an online format. These will backfill open spaces after Tier 1 courses are assessed and filled.

  • Tier 3 – Online-ready
    • Classes that can migrate to online without significantly impacting SLOs, keeping in mind that we have more time to develop excellent online coursework, as opposed to the quick transition we made this spring. 

Will I get the same quality education in an online class as I do with an in-person class?    

Yes. Courses migrated to remote learning in spring and summer were functional and effective – over 97% of you remained active and engaged in your newly-remote courses. For fall, MSU Denver is implementing course-design expectations to build upon the quality and simplicity of these courses. Existing online courses that meet these expectations deliver equivalent grade and withdraw rates as face-to-face courses, so we are confident you will experience real learning and preparation for your future – not just completion of requirements to get closer to a diploma.

I’ve heard fall online courses will be taught in Canvas, is that true?

We are evolving to provide you one of the most immersive, connected, and efficient online learning experiences available, and part of that evolution is to offer our courses within the most dynamic system available – Canvas. When launched starting this fall, it will noticeably improve the user experience for students.

How will I learn to use Canvas?

Canvas is easy to use, and this video reviews its basic features. This video and direction from your instructor within your courses will also shape your understanding.

 Also, we are confident in the very simple, efficient user interface within Canvas. We’ve been informed providing student-specific Canvas support simply isn’t necessary; however, we didn’t want to take any chances. For that reason, students – those familiar, uncertain, and uncomfortable with online learning – will receive similar Canvas 24/7 365 Canvas call-in and chat support for one year after which ITS will provide support. Contact information will be available in your Canvas courses.

What is the difference between online and synchronous online learning?

  • Online Learning
    • Online learning includes all course types that do not require you to come to campus and that meet robust but simple course design and teaching expectations.

  • Synchronous Online Learning
    • This is a type of online learning. Synchronous courses include consistent and required live class sessions on a predetermined schedule. These courses may have weekly course meetings, midterm or finals study sessions, or live group project requirements. When you schedule a synchronous course, the course times will be listed and will populate in your projected schedule to ensure you don’t schedule other courses at the same time.

  • Asynchronous Online Learning
    • A subset of online learning, asynchronous learning includes courses that allow students to review course content and complete course requirements without needing to attend live, required sessions. Asynchronous course content can include recorded lectures, readings, videos, audio lessons, powerpoints, and notes. Asynchronous learning requires review of content within a predetermined timeframe, but those windows are usually within days or weeks, not hours like required live lectures.

I have already enrolled in fall classes; how do I find out how my courses will be offered?

Log into Student Hub to view your current course registration. Online courses will be listed as SYNCH, ASYNCH, or Online and will not have a building assignment. In-person, on-campus courses will have a building assignment.

Can I register now for fall courses or do I need to wait until early June when decisions are made on if courses will be on campus or online?

It is important to register early to ensure the best selection of courses. When further course details are available, you will receive an email about how your courses will be delivered.

How does taking online classes impact my financial aid?

Taking all online classes does not impact your financial aid award. Students are eligible for the same types of financial aid whether taking classes online or on-campus. 


Check out class availability below:

Fall 2020 - Available Seats


  1. Courses that fulfill general studies requirements will contain information in the 'General Studies' column. You may need to refresh this webpage (F5) in order to view the most updated list of available courses.
  2. Most courses have become online courses
    1. "ASYNCH" (asynchronous) & "Online" courses DO NOT have required attendance at specific times
    2. "SYNCH" courses have REQUIRED scheduled meeting times which are noted in the schedule (virtual face-to-face)

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