Credit Hour

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Teachers College Policy Library

Credit Hour

Owner: Vice Provost for Student Affairs

URL: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/policylibrary/Credit Hour

A "point" (equivalent to a semester hour) is the College's unit of credit. The New York State Education Department1 and the U.S. Department of Education2 regulate the mininum standards for a credit hour. To meet these regulations, the following standards apply to all Teachers College credit courses. These are minimum requirements; individual courses may have greater requirements as determined by the course instructor. Time spent out-of-class represent averages, and some students might find it necessary to devote more time than these stated expectations. For this policy, a contact hour is defined as 50 minutes. 

Lecture, Seminar and Other Courses that Meet In-Person

1. A one-point course meets for 15 contact hours plus a minimum of 30 hours in student preparation and out-of-class assignments.

2. A two-point course meets for 30 contact hours plus a minimum of 60 hours of student preparation and out-of-class assignments. 

3. A three-point course normally meets for 30 contact hours plus a minimum of 60 hours of student preparation and out-of-class assignments and an additional 45 hours spent on a supervised out-of-class project.

4. For classes of more credit hours, the class contact hours and student preparation and out-of-class assignments are increased proportionately. A minimum of 45 hours for each additional point of credit is required in additional meeting times and/or other academic activities.

5. For a course with a variable point option, the course syllabus must clearly differentiate the additional out-of-class work required for the additional point(s) of credit. Each additional point must involve a minimum of 45 additional hours of out-of-class work and may take the form of additional reading, preparing a term paper, engaging in a project related to the course or out-of-class group activities. 

Fieldwork, Laboratory, Internship, Externship, Practicum, and Student Teaching Courses

1. Hours for field-based courses must follow the same time standards as defined for in-person courses. For each credit point, a student must complete a minimum of 45 hours including actual time spent in the field experience, class meetings, and student preparation and out-of-class assignments.

2. Hours listed for Certificates of Equivalency must be over and above the minimum number of hours required for the point value of the student's course registration.

Independent Study Courses

1. Independent study is a self-directed course of study under the guidance of an instructor.

2. Academic credit awarded for independent study must be comparable in level, scope, academic rigor and student study as for the lecture courses. 

3. 45 hours of supervised independent research work for each credit earned.

Distance Learning Courses

1. A distance learning course is defined as a course offered in a completely online environment with the possibility of in-person activities (e.g., examinations or group meetings).

2. Distance learning courses may be synchronous or asynchronous. A synchronous course is when students are expected to participate at designated time (e.g., for weekly online lecture or seminar sessions). Asynchronous courses may be completed at any time within the study period in a timeframe established by the course instructor.

3. Distance learning courses must be comparable in level, scope, academic rigor and student study as for lecture courses.

4. Distance learning courses must have student-instructor interaction and be instructor-supervised.

5. The same credit hour requirements are required for distance learning courses. Meeting time is satisfied through several means which can include but is not limited to regular instruction or interaction with the course instructor; academic engagement through interactive tutorials and training; group discussions moderated by the course instructor; virtual study/group projects; engagement with class peers; and other activities graded and reviewed by the course instructor.

6. The course instructor must document on the course syllabus the expectations for completing the minimum credit hour requirements for the credit awarded.

Hybrid Courses

1. A hybrid course is a course offered in a combination of environments (online, on-campus) and/or via different delivery modes (e.g., synchronous, asynchronous).

2. Course must be comparable in level, scope, academic rigor and student study as for lecture courses.

3. The same credi hour requirements are required and may be achieved through meeting in-person or online following the standards established for distance learning courses.

4. The course instructor must document on the course syllabus the expectations for completing the minimum credit hour requirements for the credit awarded.

Blended Courses

1. A blended course is a course in which the instruction is about evenly split between online and on-campus.

2. Course must be comparable in level, scope, academic rigor and student study as for lecture courses.

3. The same credit hour requirements are required and may be achieved through meeting in-person or online following the standards established for distance learning courses.

4. The course instructor must document on the course syllabus the expectations for completing the mininum credit hour requirements for the credit awarded.

Short Courses

For a course lasting one or two weeks, credit value may not exceed the number of weeks of the course.

1. For a course of three weeks but less than six weeks, the credit value may not exceed the number of weeks of the course plus one.

2. The same credit hour requirements must be met as outlined in the preceding sections. There must be sufficient time within the timeframe of the courses offering to satisfy the credit hour requirements.

 

[i][1] NYSED:  “Semester hour means a credit, point or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of course which requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments. This basic measure shall be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic calendars and formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study during the two semesters that comprise an academic year.”

 

[1] Title IV: ”one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class work each work for approximately 15 weeks for one semester hour of credit, or at least an equivalent amount of work as required in this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”

Responsible Office: Vice Provost for Student Affairs/Office of the Registrar

Approved by FEC-APS, March 23, 2016

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