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RSCC Policy AA-24-01; Assignment of Credit Hours

RSCC Policy AA-24-01; Assignment of Credit Hours

Roane State Community College
Policy Number: AA-24-01
Subject: Assignment of Credit Hours
  1. Introduction
    Roane State Community College is a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which is its regional accrediting body, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an agency whose accreditation entitles its member institutions to seek eligibility to participate in Title IV programs. The purpose of this policy is to establish institutional definitions and procedures for the assignment and calculation of credit hours to comply with SACSCOC policy, the federal definition, Carnegie unit recommendations, and the guidelines of applicable programmatic accrediting agencies.

  2. Definitions

    1. The Federal Definition of Credit hour (Federal Register (75 FR 66832 p. 66946):

      1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
      2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of 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.
    2. While SACSCOC policy acknowledges that the federal definition provides some flexibility for institutions in determining the appropriate amount of credit hours for student coursework, it also notes that a credit hour is expected to be a reasonable approximation of a minimum amount of student work in a Carnegie unit in accordance with commonly accepted practice in higher education.

      1. The Carnegie Unit-Definition and Calculation

        1. Credit Hour is the unit of measuring educational credit, usually based on the number of classroom hours per week throughout a term.

        2. Lecture Classes - For a lecture class, one unit is considered to be one hour of lecture class time and two hours per week of homework. For the typical three-unit class, a student spends three hours per week in class and should do six hours per week of homework. The total semester hours are calculated by multiplying the weekly hours by 15.

        3. Laboratory Classes - For a laboratory class, the hours per week are considered to be all in class with no outside assignments. Thus, one unit is three hours per week of laboratory time.

      2. Roane State Community College Definition of a Credit Hour
        One course credit hour equals 750 minutes of total instruction or equivalent based on a regular semester. A course offered in fewer than 15 weeks shall contain the same total hours (contact hours, preparation time, content, and requirements) as the same course offered in the standard 15-week semester.

        1. Location
          All courses must be equivalent to the standard credit hour calculation (depending on the course type), and must be consistently delivered as such across all locations offered:

          1. Main campus
          2. Satellite campuses
          3. Online
        2. Course Development
          All courses will be developed for a regular, 15-week semester even if the course is taught in an alternative or accelerated format. This procedure applies to all lecture, laboratory, and/or external learning experience (clinical) courses.

        3. Reasonable Equivalencies for Course Types and Methods of Delivery
          Course credit hours are granted for various types of instruction as follows:

          1. Lecture courses - The number of course credit hours awarded a lecture course will be determined by the actual number of contact hours per week the course is scheduled or would be scheduled if it is a web-based course, using a ratio of 1 course credit hour for 1 lecture contact hour per week.
          2. Lab courses - The number of course credit hours awarded a lab course will be determined by the actual number of contact hours per week the lab course is scheduled or would be scheduled if it is a web-based course, using a ratio of 1 course credit hour for a range of 1 up to 4 lab contact hours per week.
          3. External Learning Experience courses - External learning experience courses include cooperative education, practicum, field experience, internship, and clinical experience. The number of course credit hours awarded a clinical course will be determined by the actual number of contact hours per week the clinical course is scheduled using a calculation ratio option deemed appropriate for a particular program.
        4. Distance Delivery Credit Hour Calculation
          All courses offered through distance learning must be developed and delivered in compliance with Roane State’s definition of a credit hour. For example: Online courses should include the equivalent of the required 750 minutes of instruction per credit hour based on a regular semester and expect the minimum of 2 class hours of out-of-class student work per credit hour.

Original Date Effective: 05/08/2015
Original Approval By: Christopher L. Whaley, President
Office Responsible: Vice President Student Learning

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