Policy Portal

Administrative Policy: Academic

Semester Credit Definition Policy

Policy Number: 3349-AC-240
Effective Date: 05/31/2017
Updated:
Reviewed:
Responsible Department: Enrollment Services
Applies To: Faculty, Students
Approval Authority: Office of the VPAA

A. Purpose

NEOMED has operated under the semester calendar system for many years, but has historically utilized contact hours as a means of transcripting student engagement. The Ohio Board of Regents Directive #2010‐016 as approved by the Chancellor on March 18, 2010. This Policy is designed to: bring the University into compliance with the Ohio Board of Regents Directive; establish a system of operational protocols that are indicative of the industry standard and best practice; and better align the University with Title IV regulations while minimizing duplication of effort.

B. Scope

This Policy affects all faculty and students, and is administered by the departments of Academic Services and Enrollment Services. Faculty and/or Committees interested in proposing new courses should consult this policy and/or Enrollment Services’ staff for confirmation of appropriate credit values.

C. Definitions

  1. “Contact Hour” refers to one contact hour, which equals 50 minutes.
  2. “Clock Hour” refers to one clock hour, which equals 60 minutes.
  3. “Semester Credit” refers to a minimum of 750 minutes (12.5 clock hours or 15 contact hours) of formalized instruction that typically requires students to work at out‐of‐class assignments an average of twice the amount of time as the amount of formalized instruction (1,500 minutes) for a total of 2,250 minutes or 37.5 clock hours (45 contact hours) for each semester credit awarded.

D. Policy Statement

NEOMED awards semester credit based on an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is in alignment with the Ohio Board of Regents Directive for all public colleges and universities (Administrative Code, 3333‐1‐02, 2010) and the US Department of Education’s definition.

While awarding semester credit hours typically occurs for instruction delivered in accordance with an institutions standard semester calendar (15‐17 week period of time), formalized instruction may take place in a variety of delivery methods and variable lengths of time within the semester calendar definition. As such, NEOMED utilizes the following semester credit calculations based on delivery method and the expectation that the minimum amount of formalized instruction, independent learning, and intended outcomes are being accomplished regardless of course length. One instructional “contact hour” equals 50 clock minutes.

  1. “Lecture, Seminar & Small Group Discussion” is formalized instruction, conducted on‐ or off‐campus in which the instructor(s) present an educational experience to students, applying any combination of instructional methods.
    1. This definition is applicable when the faculty/instructor(s) bear the primary responsibility for instructional activity and is directly involved with all the students in the class.
    2. One semester credit is awarded for each 15 contact hours (12.5 clock hours) of formalized instruction and anticipates an additional 30 contact hours (25 clock hours) or more of student out‐of‐class independent study/learning.
  2. “Laboratory” is an education activity with students conducting experiments, perfecting skills or practicing procedures under the direction of faculty/instructor(s).
    1. One semester credit is awarded for each 30 contact hours (25 clock hours) of activity for those laboratory experiences that anticipate/require an additional 15 contact hours (12.5 clock hours) or more of supplemental out‐of‐class study/learning to prepare for or follow‐up on the in‐lab experience.
  3. “Individualized Study and Research” is a student‐initiated experience to pursue an area of interest not otherwise covered by a regular course offering, with the guidance of a NEOMED faculty member.
    1. Faculty members(s) assigned as the instructor of record for these experiences have primary responsibility for deciding the subject content, course objectives and amount of effort to be expended by the student, and provides guidance/instruction whenever required.
    2. Students are expected to complete pre‐determined assignments, which may include a final research paper and presentation of findings.
    3. Faculty periodically assess the student’s progress, determined evaluation methods and assigns the final grade.
    4. The standard clock hour (60 minutes) rather than the contact hour (50 minutes) is used for the calculation of credit for these experiences.
      1. One semester credit is awarded for each 37.5 clock hours (45 contact hours) of on‐task activity in any combination of formalized instruction and student independent study/learning/research activities.
  4. “Internship and Practicum Experiences” are credit bearing (non‐paid) work experiences that are integrated with academic instruction and relate to an individual student’s occupational goals. Students concurrently apply learned concepts to practical situations within an occupational field.
    1. The experience is coordinated by NEOMED faculty, who assists the students in planning the experience and assigns the course grade in consultation with the supervisor/employer. Students are expected to complete pre‐determined assignments which may include weekly journals, quizzes, tests, final paper or an experience report. Use of “internship” verses “practicum” in the course title may be used interchangeably to accommodate differences in accreditation nomenclature.
    2. The standard clock hour (60 minutes) rather than the contact hour (50 minutes) is used for the calculation of credit for these experiences.
      1. One semester credit is awarded for each week (5 days) or 40‐45 clock hours of on‐task activity in any combination of formalized instruction and student independent study/learning/research activities.
  5. “Clerkship, Rotation and Advance Pharmacy Practice Experiences” refer only to the medical and pharmacy programs during which students in their third and/or fourth year of study are required to participate in clinical sciences, patient care and/or pharmacy practice experiences. These experiences expose students to all facets of medicine and pharmacy practice in a variety of clinical and/or practical settings.
    1. Students learn diagnostic and therapeutic skills, gain experience in patient management and examine the ethical dilemmas of contemporary medicine.
    2. Faculty regularly provide special teaching sessions appropriate to the learning level of medical and pharmacy students.
    3. The standard clock hour (60 minutes) rather than the contact hour minutes) is used for the calculation of credit for these experiences.
      1. One semester credit is awarded for each week (5 days) or 40‐45 clock hours (48‐54 contact hours) of on‐task activity in any combination of formalized instruction and student independent study/learning/ research activities.
  6. “Distance Learning” occurs when the student and faculty are separated by location and/or time, but are able to engage in teaching/learning activities through the use of technology such as videoconferencing and the Internet.
    1. The teaching/learning activities may be synchronous or asynchronous and may be a hybrid delivery where specific in‐class activities may be required.
    2. Credit hours are determined as the equivalent amount of instruction and student effort leading to equivalent learning outcomes as required for on‐campus instructional delivery as defined above.
      1. Minimum expectations is 37.5 clock hours (45 contact hours) of on‐task activity in any combination of formalized instruction and student independent study/learning for every semester credit awarded.
  7. Guidelines
    1. Student learning outcome equivalencies are to be based on documented qualitative and quantitative expectations for:
      1. Time required of students to complete assigned learning activities;
      2. Time required of students to read and understand content developed by course/section faculty, excluding time required to read assignments in a course syllabus;
      3. Time required of course/section faculty to respond to student questions received through electronic mediums (e.g., email, online classroom, discussion boards, chat rooms; and
      4. Time required of course/section faculty and students to participate in online conference activities.
    2. Semester credit may be awarded in half (.50) credit increments utilizing the following guidelines:
      Semester Credit Fraction Semester Credit Rounding Guideline
      .1 through .3 Round down to 0
      .4 through .7 Round to .5
      .8 through .99 Round to 1.0
    3. Reviews of course proposals and schedules should be made by Curriculum Committee(s) for each respective college to ensure appropriate contact time for credit value proposed and/or awarded.
    4. It is the responsibility of Enrollment Services/Registrar to ensure that appropriate credit values are recorded to student transcripts based on course proposals and schedules.

E. Catalog Statement

This Policy is communicated to students and faculty, and staff via the University Catalog as follows:

NEOMED awards semester credit based on an amount of work represented in intended earning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates to no less than 750 minutes (12.5 clock hours) of normalized instruction that typically requires students to work at out‐of‐class assignments an average of twice the amount of time as the amount of formalized instruction (1,500 minutes) for a total of 2,250 minutes or 37.5 clock hours for each semester credit awarded. One (1) instructional “contact hour” equals 50 clock minutes.

NEOMED recognizes that formalized instruction may take place in a variety of delivery methods and variable lengths of time within the semester calendar definition. As such, NEOMED utilizes the following semester credit calculations based on delivery method and the expectation that the minimum amount of formalized instruction, independent learning, and intended outcomes are being accomplished:

Lecture, Seminar and Small Group Discussions – 15 contact hours (12.5 clock hours) of formalized instruction (plus 25 clock hours of student out‐of‐class independent
learning) equals one (1) semester credit.

Laboratories – 30 contact hours (25 clock hours) of formalized instruction (plus 12.5 clock hours of student out‐of‐class independent learning) equals one (1) semester credit.

Individualized Study and Research – 45 contact hours (37.5 clock hours) of formalized instruction and/or student out‐of‐classroom independent learning in any combination equals one (1) semester credit.

Clerkship, Advance Pharmacy Practice Experience, Rotation, Internship, or Practicum – 1 week (5 days) or 40‐45 clock hours of formalized instruction and/or student out‐of classroom independent learning in any combination equals one (1) semester credit.

E. Review of Policy and Procedure Statements

  1. Periodic review of the Policy and its application by Enrollment Services are imperative as failure to comply with minimum semester credit calculations may jeopardize not only NEOMED’s eligibility to receive federal financial aid/Title IV funding, but also our regional accreditation status and perhaps our standing with the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
  2. Enrollment Services will assign a review date and primary reviewer. The responsibility of the primary reviewer is to invite comments or proposed revisions to the policy from relevant stakeholders. The Policy will be reviewed and revised as necessary at least every five years.

Contact us

Shelley Bojo
Executive Administrative Assistant
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: sbojo@neomed.edu

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