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Online Learning

Online Learning at UC Irvine

Instructors at UC Irvine continue to innovate with technology in instruction, including online education. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has a long legacy of supporting instructional technology across campus. Beginning in 1995, when the Electronic Educational Environment (EEE) was launched, OIT has provided tools, services, and consultation in the use of technology in instruction. Increasingly, instructors are exploring the opportunities available in online instruction, including web-based, hybrid, and flipped classrooms. Using a combination of dynamic tools and pedagogically sound techniques, instructors are engaging students in active learning.

What is Online Learning?

As you might imagine, the term 'online learning' can refer to a wide range of courses that incorporate web-based tools. The UC Irvine Academic Senate Subcommittee on Courses (SCOC) formally recognizes three types of courses:

Traditional Course
course centered on scheduled meeting times in a common physical location between instructors and students, with minimal required use of online tools
Hybrid Course
course that uses scheduled meeting times in a common physical location between instructors and students and a significant fraction of required online tools
Online Course
course with no required scheduled meeting times in a common physical location between instructors and students (though meetings at a common time using online tools may be required)

Online learning can be facilitated by instructors in each of these types of courses. For example, a traditional course could include an extensive webpage that provides students with simulations and tutorials. Alternatively, instructors in a flipped classroom could provide instructional videos that students review online and outside of the regular class session. In some cases, a course can be taught completely online, which would make extensive use of web-based tools and services, including information delivery, assessment, and communication.

Instructors have a wide variety of options available, both for the types of activities that take place in a course and the tools and services that are used to facilitate those activities. A growing number of UC Irvine instructors are creating flexible content that can be used in a variety of courses structured as traditional, hybrid, or online.

UCOP Program: Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI)

The Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ILTI) is designed to meet UC campus needs for high quality online or hybrid course offerings. The Initiative will enhance the educational opportunities and achievements of UC students by helping them get access to high demand courses, satisfy degree requirements and graduate on time.

ILTI was established in January 2013 by UC's President Mark G. Yudof. The Office of the Provost, Academic Senate and UC Online provide program leadership, while UC students, faculty and administrators have played important roles in defining and shaping ILTI's framework and guidelines.

For more information, including funding opportunities and proposal dates, please see

What do Students Think?

Online Learning Survey Results, 2009 and 2014
Download the full report (PDF)

To get a general idea of students' opinions, we conducted an informal, anonymous online survey (in partnership with the Division of Undergraduate Education during the Fall 2009 quarter, then again in the Spring 2014 quarter. Students at all levels responded, rating the perceived effectiveness of online compared to in-class learning.


  • 42% have taken a fully online course
  • 31% rate online coursework as more effective at promoting participation and interaction
  • 56% prefer a combination of in-class and online learning, versus exclusively online or offline classes
  • Convenience, cost savings, flexibility and class availability were some of the cited benefits
  • Technical issues, increased distractions, and difficulty with asking and getting answers to questions were some of the cited drawbacks

Results for the 2009 survey are available as a PDF download.

Learning to Teach Online

Preparing an effective online class requires more than just posting files online. An online learning environment can be very different from an in-class environment, and offers unique challenges.

UCI's Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation (DTEI) can work with faculty interested in online teaching, providing the pedagogical expertise to translate classroom materials and in-class teaching strategies for an effective online class.

Discover more about online learning through the Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation



Leveraging EEE Tools

While EEE was originally designed to support class instruction by supplementing in-class meetings and streamlining administrative tasks, EEE tools can also be used to support classes that are taught completely online.

Learn how you can use EEE tools for online classes