Synchronous Courses 5-9

This page provides information around Synchronous courses that are offered from grades 5-9


Synchronous courses offer the same program of study as an online course, with the added benefit of weekly meetings with a teacher and working alongside a cohort of your peers on the same topics. Synchronous courses provide overall structure for students, with the expectation that they will work to keep up with the schedule set by the teacher for assignments and tests. The accountability of the weekly meeting is designed to help elaborate on challenging topics or concepts, encourage student interaction, and provide a natural place for students to ask questions and develop deeper understanding. This option is the one that is most similar to a face-to-face classroom experience in an online environment.


Synchronous Courses provide regular, required touchpoints where students would meet with their teacher(s) and fellow students. Regularly scheduled times set by the instructor early in September allow students to connect with teachers to receive instruction, clarify assignments, and ask questions on a weekly basis. Synchronous course options allow students the opportunity to connect with their teachers and other students in a more typical classroom style. Synchronous Cohorts provide the chance for students to be known and also increase the level of accountability. Teachers may use the weekly meetings to  pre-teach lessons, answer common questions, clarify assignments, or discuss complex topics or issues.

How Synchronous Courses Function

  • Students work through the standard online course together with the teacher, according to a weekly schedule set by the teacher.
  • The teacher and students meet via Zoom at a regularly scheduled time every week.
  • Weekly meetings create a rhythm and maintain a high level of contact. 
  • Zoom classes are typically 20-30 minutes in length, and begin about the 3rd week of September.

Student Responsibilities and Expectations

  • Students commit to attend weekly meeting with teacher and other students in their synchronous cohort
  • Students commit to working independently on weekly lessons and assignments, according to the schedule set by the teacher
  • Students commit to staying on pace with the cohort, completing lesson activities and submitting assignments in a timely manner (to the best of their ability)
  • Students have access to the teacher outside of the weekly meetings, during scheduled office hours, or via email to ask questions, clarify assignments, etc. 
  • Students commit to respectful and appropriate behaviour during weekly meetings (this includes both appropriate language and appropriate attire).
  • Students are expected to have their video cameras on during class, to use the chat function to interact, and use their microphone to respond to others, to help with student engagement and interaction.
    • Students who feel uncomfortable using their camera/microphone during Zoom classes might be better suited to an Asynchronous class.
  • Students are expected to participate in class discussions, breakout rooms, games etc.  They do not have the option to simply “listen in” with their cameras off as this makes it very difficult to foster a sense of class community.
  • Students who fall significantly behind schedule may be reassigned to an asynchronous course.

Teacher Responsibilities and Expectations

  • The teacher will decide on a set class meeting day and time in the spring each year to allow students to view synchronous course schedules as they enrol
    • this should be done in consideration of other, similar grade level courses to prevent overlap of meeting times
    • online meetings will begin in the third week of September and finish early to mid-June
  • The teacher will create a year schedule that outlines the pace for lesson completion, assignment submissions and test dates where appropriate.
  • The teacher will prepare for and host weekly meetings (up to 30 minutes in length) with content and activities that are relevant to the course and/or lesson being addressed. 
  • The teacher will host with both audio and video functions on, so students can see their teacher. 
  • The teacher will mark assignments and tests in a timely manner, providing relevant formative and summative assessment for students. 
  • The teacher will initiate contact with any students who have fallen behind or become inactive, to determine the best course of action going forward. 
  • Weekly meetings are generally not recorded.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does it cost any more to enrol in a synchronous course compared to an asynchronous course? 
    • No, the cost to the student is the same for a synchronous course as it is for any other online course enrollment.
  2. What if I have to miss a meeting for a dentist appointment or other unforeseen conflict? 
    • This should be communicated to your teacher.  Students should arrange activities such as regular piano lessons or sports practices at a time that does not conflict with scheduled class meetings but it’s understood that life happens sometimes.
  3. Can my student take just one synchronized cohort for an online course or do they have to take all across their grade level?
    • Absolutely they can take just one, or multiple synchronous options! Figure out what works best for your child’s learning style, level of independence and degree of desired flexibility?
  4. How does the course schedule work?
    • The meeting times for each synchronous cohort will be posted in SOPHIE. You can see the schedule live here! Your K-9 support teacher or Grad Advisor can also let you know when specific classes are meeting. In addition, there will not be overlap between class time for the different subjects across the same grade level.  This allows students to take all synchronous offerings if they so choose.
  5. How long are the synchronous classes?
    • 20-30  minutes long.  Note: Depending on the topics and assignments some meetings may be longer or shorter than scheduled. 
  6. What happens if my student falls behind?
    • Just like in any classroom environment, things happen.  Students are encouraged to keep attending the class and to work with their teacher to catch up. Teachers are prepared to support students when things don’t go as planned. 
  7. Are teachers available outside of the posted class times?  
    • Absolutely.  Teachers will have availability times posted in their course.  
  8. Are students required to have cameras and audio on?  
    • Yes, this is a basic expectation of a synchronous class.  One of the goals of these classes is community and students are expected to participate in this way.
  9. Are the courses semester or linear pacing?
    • Courses are held over the school year in a linear fashion. Classes start in the 3rd or 4th week of September and are held until the beginning of June.
  10. Do I have to attend the live meetings?
    • Yes! This is the main part of a synchronous class. Of course, there are absences that you can’t avoid, like sickness or appointments - but your teacher will miss you! 
  11. Is there a minimum enrollment necessary in order to have a synchronous course happen?  Also, is there a maximum number?
    • Yes!  The idea of community is important to Synchronous classes so we will require that a minimal number of students enroll.  If we do not get the minimum number of students, the ones that are enrolled will automatically be moved to Asynchronous.  As far as a maximum number, we realize that an online Zoom class can reach a maximum practical size, so if this happens, we will open up a second weekly meeting time to accommodate more students.