Credit-bearing classroom and laboratory courses in all formats— weekday, weekend, evening, etc.—reflect the credit-hour definition established by federal Arkansas Baptist College operates under a semester credit hour system of approximately 15 weeks each semester (minimum 14 weeks, maximum of 18 weeks) in the academic year, or its equivalent in the summer session. All ABC credit-bearing courses, regardless of format, are developed, scheduled, and conducted in compliance with federal regulation defining the credit hour. Credit is given only when students are officially registered for a class (all steps in process completed). Veterans with a minimum of twelve months of active military service may apply for three semester hours of credit in lieu of physical education activity.
ABC follows the Federal Government’s Credit Hour definition:
- One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of student work out of the classroom each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit; or
- At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph one (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of a credit hour.
Credit Hour Calculation
The minimum amount of time required for one credit hour is calculated using 50 minutes as the recognized length of a classroom “hour.” One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction per semester (50 minutes x 16 weeks / 60) equals 12.5 hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction. Two hours of student out-of-classroom work per semester (2 x 50 minutes x 15 weeks / 60) equals 25 hours of out-of-class student work. Twelve and a half hours of classroom or direct faculty instruction plus 25 hours of out-of-class work per semester equals 37.5 hours. Therefore, one credit hour equals 37.5 clock hours of instruction/student work per 15 week semester. All credit-bearing courses, regardless of format, shall be calculated accordingly.
Credit Hour Procedures for Course Formats
- Credit-bearing online courses require student participation in instructor-led asynchronous or synchronous online learning activities equivalent to the federal regulation defining the credit hour. Approval and oversight of online courses which includes course content and credit hour approval is accomplished through the Curriculum. Online courses shall be defined as a formal educational process in which the primary instructional interaction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same physical location.
- Credit-bearing web-enhanced and blended courses involving a combination of in-person and online participation require a combination of in-person faculty instruction and online, instructor-led, asynchronous or synchronous learning activities equivalent to the federal regulation of defining the credit hour. A Web-enhanced course shall be defined as any class in which all scheduled class sessions are not conducted by means in which student and instructor are in the same physical location with some class sessions conducted online. Blended courses are defined as those courses meeting a full in-class schedule with supplemental online coursework.
- Other credit-bearing instructional formats such as laboratory work, internships, practicum, independent study, and other academic work require at least the equivalent amount of classroom and/or direct faculty instruction and student work as defined above and reflect the credit-hour definition established by federal regulation.
- Credit hours assigned to a course will reflect the amount of work required to earn those credits. 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.
- 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.
- Regardless of mode of instruction, courses should be consistent in terms of purpose, scope, quality, assessment, and expected learning outcomes with other courses with the same course code, number, and title.
Special Procedures for Online and Web-enhanced Courses
Fully online and web-enhanced courses shall be developed and offered following consultation with the program faculty and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and shall be approved by the Curriculum Committee. Fully online and web-enhanced courses shall be so identified in the official schedule of classes.
Ownership of materials, faculty compensation, copyright issues, and the use of revenue derived from the creation and production of web-enhanced and distance education courses, including software, or other media products shall be in accordance with the college policy on intellectual property.
Fully online and web-enhanced courses shall be consistent in terms of purpose, scope, quality, assessment and expected learning outcomes with other classes bearing the same course code, number, and title and shall meet all the standards set forth in the credit hour policy.
Students enrolled in fully online and web-enhanced courses shall have the same rights and access to advisement, grievances, or other key academic rights and services, and shall not be excused from the academic responsibilities expected of all students.
Academic programs in which fifty percent or more of the coursework is delivered online shall meet the requirements related to distance education programs as established by the Higher Learning Commission.
Process for Application and Review of Credit Hour Policy
The Vice President for Academic Affairs and the College Curriculum Committee will review and approve all new course development for conformance with the expectations of the credit hour policy specified above. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will periodically audit and review the credit hours and student workload in all courses and other instructional formats for conformance with the expectations specified above following the approved Arkansas Department of Higher Education calendar for program review.