Graduate teaching formats

The professional and graduate programs at Mount Holyoke College use a range of teaching formats to support busy professionals and provide flexibility to our students.

Professional and Graduate students listening attentively to a presentation

Accelerated Courses

Courses that are offered in compressed timeframes, from a few weeks long to a half-semester seven-week course. The accelerated format can be combined with any of the other learning formats (e.g., online, on-campus, limited residency, dynamic hybrid learning, etc.). Accelerated learning provides students the opportunity to focus intensively on a subject. In an accelerated course, students have the same amount of expected work and contact hours with faculty and peers, but they are compressed into a shorter time frame.

Dynamic hybrid learning

In this format, students have the option of either attending face-to-face classroom sessions on-campus/on-site OR to attend classes online through synchronous video conferencing (or a mix of on-campus and online). Using a system of video cameras that move and focus on the speaker, all students interact with each other and the instructor as if they were together in one classroom.

Professional and Graduate students in a discussion group with the instructor.

Interactive online

In this format, courses are held completely online, and include components that are both:

Synchronous: on a set schedule where all students must be online at the same time to participate (e.g. for a videoconference lecture or discussion), or

Asynchronous: students choose when to engage and complete their work, within predefined timeframes (often a few days or a one-week window).

A group of three PaGE students looking at numbers on green cards on a table.

Limited residency

This type of course format is designed to maximize the best of online learning, face-to-face learning, and community building. In a limited residency course, participants have modules that include both online coursework as well as short, intensive, on-campus/on-site sessions. Throughout the course, students are working interactively with peers and building and applying their knowledge with the mentorship of faculty. This model takes the best of what happens in a professional conference and pairs it with the ongoing support as learners continue to develop and evolve their skills.

Hear what a recent student has to say about her experience
MATM students in a classroom discussion with a digital screen displaying other engaged students.

Live online

A course that uses live videoconferencing for all of the sessions. In this type of course, there is a set schedule where all students must be online at the same time to participate. These courses often use a rich, discussion-based seminar style facilitated by technology to connect participants.

Professional and Graduate students outdoors in a discussion group.


A more traditional format, in these types of courses students are all physically together in one classroom. On-campus courses refer to courses that happen on the Mount Holyoke College campus. On-site courses refer to courses that happen in spaces that are not on the Mount Holyoke College campus (for instance in a classroom or conference room at a partner institution).

PaGE online panel discussion

What does a panel discussion look like in an online class?

Featuring teacher leadership students interacting with the course instructor and four guest speakers, this video was recorded in our X.EDUC 489: Catapult! Capstone course.

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Amy Asadoorian
  • Admissions and Communications Coordinator