Instruction and Course Modalities

Instruction 2021–22

Instruction during WS and Spring Semester 2022 will continue to be offered in one of three modes:

Hybrid courses incorporate a deliberate blend of both in-person and online forms of instruction. These courses may include synchronous and asynchronous modalities. The ratio of in-person and online instruction will vary depending on multiple factors such as the role of two- and three-dimensional material engagement, the use of specialized facilities and equipment, the centrality of group dialogue and critique,
and the nature of the assignments and learning goals. Hybrid courses should involve a meaningful degree of in-person interaction between the faculty member and student. Hybrid courses may include the following pedagogical models:

  • Lecture courses that “flip” the classroom using asynchronous or synchronous online lectures paired with in-person sections, or in-person discussion sessions paired with online assignments;
  • Courses that combine online lectures with studio-based assignments in which the instructor is actively working with students on assignments in the studio/shop settings;
  • Studio courses in which recurring “desk-crits” are moved online but other course activity takes place in the physical studio;
  • Seminars that incorporate online technologies to facilitate discrete elements of the syllabus (for example, elements that require specific online technologies, or benefit materially from the ability to communicate without a face covering) but otherwise meet in person.

Given the definitional breadth of the hybrid mode of course delivery, students are encouraged to contact the relevant department/division for additional information regarding a given semester course. In addition, the course syllabus will include a clear description of the course delivery structure and expectations for student engagement.

In-person courses involve the physical presence of both the faculty member and the students during class hours (instructional contact hours). Health protocols may require modifications to some aspects of in-person courses, and it is common practice for in-person classes to ask students to complete occasional class-related activities/tasks online (e.g., stream films, do research, watch a tutorial, engage in chat forums, etc.). The course syllabus will include a clear description of the course delivery structure and expectations for student engagement.

Online courses deliver all class activities online. These courses may include synchronous and asynchronous modalities, with the potential for different pathways through the course. Course materials may take multiple forms, such as videos, discussions, lectures, and critiques, but instructional engagement occurs in an online environment with no required in-person component. The course syllabus will include a clear description of the course delivery structure including the time zone for synchronous sessions and expectations for student engagement.

Course Modality Lookup (Winter 2022)

Enter your 7-digit student ID number to view your fall course schedule. You can also see what other courses are currently being offered and their modality by selecting the second tab for ‘course search’. Use the filters on the right to search by ‘subject’, ‘course title’, ‘course name’, etc. Please note that the lookup tool is best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer.

If you need to adjust your schedule, go to Student Planning at

This tool reflects course modalities that were established prior to RISD’s announcement of fall 2021 protocol. Course modality is subject to change and students should consult with their instructors and refer to syllabi. 

Frequently Asked Questions

No. The Academic Calendar for AY 2021–22 will largely return to normal under the Near Normal scenario. Learn more.

RISD will revert to mostly in-person instruction, but using lessons learned from the past year about how virtual and hybrid instruction can enhance course delivery. To view your current schedule and see how your courses are being offered, please use the RISD Course Modality Lookup Tool and check your course syllabi.

Yes, approximately 5 percent of RISD’s courses will be taught online. Learn more.

Yes. RISD’s studios, shops, and centers will be open for RISD students, faculty and staff during Fall 2021 semester, Wintersession 2022 and Spring 2022.

Yes, these resources will be accessible through either virtual support, online and in-person visits or appointments.

The opportunity to cross-register with Brown University will be made available again starting Fall 2021 to all RISD students. Unvaccinated students (those with an exemption) are required to wear masks on Brown’s campus.