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 Academic Affairs

Credit Standards for Instruction and Student Work

Effective: September 1, 2011
Last Updated: Approved by EPC on December 15, 2010
Approved by Campus Assembly April 12, 2011

Policy Owner: Academic Affairs

Credit standards are fundamental to the integrity of University degrees, transferability of courses, curricular transparency, workload assignments, and accountability to state and federal agencies. Therefore, consistency in assigning credit hours to courses is critical.

Long-standing credit hour standards as defined by national organizations for reporting and accountability are becoming inadequate as instruction is increasingly delivered online. This policy maintains the semester credit hour as the standard while broadening its applicability to online and partially online courses. The policy will be reviewed and adjusted as national, state, and accreditation agencies redefine standards for higher education.

1. The number of credits assigned to an individual course is a function of the breadth and depth of subject matter deemed appropriate by the program faculty to achieve the outcomes of the program or the liberal education category, and approved through the regular curriculum review process.

2. Curriculum guidelines permit programs to define the delivery mode(s) approved for a course as follows:

  • Classroom (100% face-to-face)
  • Partially online (4 or more face-to-face class periods per term)
  • Primarily online (1-3 defined face-to-face meeting dates per term)
  • Online (no face-to-face meetings)

The pedagogy should be appropriate for the delivery mode selected for the section of a course.

3. For classroom delivery mode (assuming a 15-week semester)

  • For lecture and discussion course components, 750 minutes will be scheduled, according to classroom scheduling guidelines, per credit hour. This typically is scheduled in fifteen (15) 50-minute periods.  The course will be designed and expectations established so that the average student will need to study and/or engage in out of class learning activities an average of two hours outside of class for every hour in the classroom in order to achieve satisfactory performance. 
  • Study and/or engage in out of class learning activities include but are not limited to: completing online modules, reading text, viewing recorded lectures, completing assignments, synchronous or asynchronous discussion with the instructor or other students, taking exams, group projects, or service learning.
  • For course components such as laboratory, rehearsal and studio, a minimum of fifteen (15) 50-minute periods will be scheduled, according to classroom scheduling guidelines, per credit hour.  This component will be designed and expectations established so that the average student will need to devote an average of three hours total per credit hour to a combination of scheduled time and time to study and/or engage in learning activities outside of the scheduled time in order to achieve satisfactory performance. 

4. For partially online delivery mode, the course will be designed to utilize both classroom and online delivery so that the combination requires the student to spend an average of 150 minutes per week per credit.

5. For primarily online or online delivery modes, the course will be designed and expectations established so that in order to achieve satisfactory performance, the average student will need to spend an average of 150 minutes per week per credit for a 15 week-semester or 45 hours per credit per course engaged with the course material in a combination of ways (see 3b above). Completion of laboratory experiences conducted using either digital technology or purchased supplemental materials will require additional time and should be designed with expectations that the time required is comparable to completion of similar activity in a laboratory space. 

6. For course components that designate individual study or research, the scope of the study or research will be established to require the average student to work an average of three hours a week per credit for 15 weeks.

7. For course components that designate a working/learning experience, e.g., internship, student teaching, practicum, field work, in general, 1 credit requires 40 hours of work in a supervised setting over the course of the term.  Full-time (40 hours per week) field study courses should equate to 14 credits (43 hours/cr).

8. Any departure from these standards must be justified in the course proposal and approved by the college curriculum committee, and collegiate and campus administrators.

9. The breadth and depth of graduate level work is expected to require additional time to achieve satisfactory performance.

10. For dual listed courses in which, for example, undergraduate students register for the 4xxx level course and graduate/professional students register for the 5xxx level course, workload expectations will be higher for the graduate/professional students. See Course Numbering Policy

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Last modified on 11/08/11 09:50 AM
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