Remote Modalities

The English Department will be offering all courses through remote modalities for the duration of Fall 2020. SF State offers three online modalities: Online Synchronous, Online Asynchronous, Online Hybrid. To see what each category means, please take a look at our FAQs. When in doubt, simply follow the meeting times listed on the schedule. Faculty and staff will not have a physical presence on campus due to COVID-19 related stipulations, but you will find below many ways to reach us, connect with us, and form communities through our remote modalities.

Through the remote learning period, our faculty remain committed to providing students with a meaningful, high quality educational experience, regardless of modality. Our Department’s mission to foster a climate of global engagement, to create a collaborative intellectual experience, and to read critically the word and the world around us, with an eye toward writing the future, is stronger than ever.

This fall, all our programs will offer a broad selection of required and elective classes that will allow students to make timely progress toward their degrees. As always, our English majors can choose from offerings in English Education, Linguistics, Literature, and Professional Writing & Rhetoric. Graduate students in MA English will find courses in Composition, Linguistics, or TESOL. Graduate students in MA Literature will find offerings in literary theory, literary history, cultural studies, and single author courses. Students in our Writing Programs will meet dedicated faculty who value student voice and who will take the time to get to know you and your writing.

Our faculty would like students in all programs to know that we are taking seriously what we’ve learned this past Spring—and identifying what we might still need to learn over the Summer—in order to deliver creative, well-paced, intellectually-stimulating, community-building courses for Fall 2020. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you all then!


What can I expect to get out of a remote learning experience in English?

Students taking online classes for the first time can expect a new kind of virtual intellectual collaboration, with the same commitment to a student centered classroom, attention to individual learning styles, and a meaningful engagement with issues we face during the current crisis, through the particular lens of our programs in English.

What are my professors expecting of me in online classes?

All your professors are expecting engagement, attendance, and participation, regardless of the modality. Their requirements for individual assignments, modes of submission, and rubrics for evaluation will be listed on their syllabus, but you can expect that all codes of student conduct and etiquette will apply to the new modalities. As always, if there are particular concerns you would like your professors to keep in mind about your situation, feel free to let them know.

What does synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid mean?

You might hear these terms a lot from faculty. If you’re confused, look here for definitions of online synchronous, online asynchronous, and online hybrid classes. The TL;DR version: SF State has three ways to teach remotely. Each will require regular participation and engagement. The difference will be in their meeting patterns. Not all meetings involve Zoom! You can also expect iLearn forum discussions, chats, hangouts, shared editing activities within the time frames specified by the course.

What will I need for courses?

You will need regular access to the Internet; a laptop or other device with a working webcam and microphone to join classes, participate in activities, and contribute to live sessions; an iLearn account to access materials, Zoom links, lecture modules, forum discussions etc.; and regular access to your SFSU email. Faculty might use other forums like Google Classroom and will share that information with you as needed. If you have difficulties accessing any of the above, please contact Academic Technology here to find out more about wifi hotspots, laptop loans, and any software you might need. When possible, we recommend setting up a dedicated work space for a conducive learning environment. Of course, your professors understand the challenges associated with a home learning situation and realize that you might be dealing with space constraints.

How will attendance be taken in the Fall?

Attendance has always meant engagement, participation, and meaningful contributions to a course. This remains in place during remote learning, but the modes for engagement, participation, and contribution will be different. As always, your instructors will share these expectations with you at the start of the semester.

How do I see my professor in office hours or get advising?

Your professors will welcome the opportunity to get to know you and learn more about your interests in our program, particularly in a situation where we are functioning remotely. Many of our instructors have drop-in Zoom office hours, but please feel free to email them or use their appointment systems to set up a meeting. To find out more about their availability, take a look on our website. If you are an English major or a Graduate Student, you can find faculty emails here. If you are a freshman in one of our Writing Programs, you can locate instructor information here. We are all looking forward to hearing from you!

How do I contact the English Department?

Call us (415-338-2264) or email us ( as always. For more information on whom to contact, you can check in here.

What help is available to me if I’m having trouble with the new modality?

Do let your professor know. They are familiar with the challenges of remote teaching and learning, frequently having to teach out of their own kitchens, with children needing attention during homeschooling, with elderly parents to care for during the COVID crisis, and other difficulties associated with running a classroom from home. We understand and empathize with your challenges. Faculty might be able share learning strategies for a challenging time if you reach out to us. We have also prepared a list of resources available on and off campus that might be of help. If you’re having technical difficulties with the course platform (e.g. iLearn), with your internet connection, or your devices, please contact Academic Technology.

How do accommodations work in remote modalities?

The English Department is committed to an inclusive learning environment. Our faculty and staff understand that student needs can change during remote modalities. The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) will work with you and your instructor to ensure your accommodations are met.

How do I complete the field experience or clinical component of my course work during remote learning?

This question is important for our English Education students and others in tutoring and teacher training programs. We’re waiting to hear about our school-based partners’ plans for fall. However, we can confirm that students will not be required to perform face-to-face tutoring. We will update this space as soon as we hear more about how you might be able to complete these experiential learning components. In the meanwhile, we would like students to know that we are prepared to offer alternate accommodations for anyone who cannot meet these requirements.