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What is the difference between ASU Sync, iCourses and ASU Online?

We answer some questions about the new learning environment called ASU Sync

ASU student wearing a mask in a classroom
July 09, 2020

As ASU students prepare to head back to campus for the fall 2020 semester, we break down the details of the new learning environment called ASU Sync and how it is different from both iCourses and ASU Online.

ASU Sync and iCourses are offered to those enrolled as on-campus students. The easiest way to tell the difference is to look at the Location column in the course catalog, ASU Class Search. In-person classes (which ASU Sync is part of) will list a physical classroom; iCourses will have "iCourse" as their location.

ASU Online courses are most similar to iCourses in how they are delivered (entirely online). However, they are separate enrollment options using different course catalogs. On-campus students cannot take ASU Online courses, and ASU Online students cannot take iCourses (or in-person classes).

Learn more about each learning experience below.

ASU Sync

ASU Sync combines live Zoom lectures with in-the-classroom instruction. Students enrolled in in-person classes will attend classes both in person and via ASU Sync (Zoom). Sometimes students will need to attend class via ASU Sync for distancing reasons (keeping classrooms below a certain capacity), and other times students will utilize ASU Sync for health concerns or because they cannot be on campus due to travel restrictions.

The overwhelming majority of in-person courses will have an ASU Sync option (the exceptions are explained below); ASU Sync is already built-in, with no need to "opt in" for it. Students will access the ASU Sync option from their My ASU course list; the week before classes begin, each class listed under View My Schedule will have buttons next to them that allow students to launch a live ASU Sync session.

 Things to know about ASU Sync:

  • Every student in a class will participate in every class: Some will do so in person in the classroom; others will be participating in real time, via Zoom. 
  • To accommodate social distancing, professors will create a schedule for students on who attends in-person vs. remotely. For example, if you sign up for a Tuesday/Thursday class, your professor may assign you to come in person on Tuesdays and attend remotely on Thursdays. Professors will contact enrolled students in August to inform them how their specific class will be taught and managed.
  • Some classes (like performing arts or science labs) will be in-person only. For classes that will be offered in-person only, you will see a gray, "In-Person Only" tag to the right of the course name in your My ASU semester schedule. Additional instructions for students enrolled in classes that will meet in-person only can be found in the Special Notes section of the class details.
  • July 21 update: Some classes, primarily those with enrollment of 100 students or more, will only be via ASU Sync, without the in-person component. Those are labeled "ASU Sync Only" in the class list in My ASU.

MORE: Register for upcoming webinars or watch previous ones on the ASU Sync page


These courses are designed to be taken entirely online, for the duration of the semester. They feature recorded lectures and other content, which students can watch and utilize on their own schedule. 

Over 2,400 iCourses are available. On-campus students can find and register for an iCourse by filtering by campus location in ASU Class Search. The link to the online coursework will be available via the class list on My ASU.

ASU Online

ASU Online is a separate enrollment system.

Things to know about ASU Online:

  • ASU Online classes are not ASU Sync classes or iCourses. They have different course catalogs.
  • ASU Online courses are 100% remote learning, as they always have been.
  • On-campus students cannot sign up for ASU Online courses.

More resources: 


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