This policy guides academic units in scheduling the instructional time for a specified number of course credits. Instructional time expectations per credit do not vary with the method(s) of delivery of the course or with the length of the academic term.
- For all enrollment periods and for all courses, the hours of instructional time for a course must equal at least the number of credits for the course times the number of weeks the course is offered during the full academic term.
- Instructional time is defined for these purposes as instruction by the instructor(s) assigned to the class as scheduled by the academic department. Instructional time does not include office hours or casual or informal time spent with students.
- Course proposals must include information regarding instructional time. Proposals must provide significant evidence to justify a schedule that includes fewer total instructional hours than the standard defined in paragraph (1.). Instructional hours of all types equal to or in excess of the standard defined in paragraph (1.) need not be justified.
- When reviewing a course proposal, college and campus curriculum committees and other approving bodies (e.g., the Council on Liberal Education) must consider the instructional hours in reaching a decision on whether to approve a proposed course; such bodies should normally reject course proposals that have fewer instructional hours than the standard defined in paragraph (1.), barring significant evidence that reduced instructional contact hours are appropriate. In their review, these bodies will also take into consideration the method(s) of delivery of the course (e.g., traditional classroom setting, various distance education delivery methods).
- Courses for individualized instruction such as directed study, directed readings, directed research, and internships, which require a written contract outlining the responsibilities of the student for the course, are explicitly exempted from this standard, and may have fewer instructional hours per week than the standard.
This policy is not applicable to the Duluth campus.
Reason for Policy
Instructional time per course credit is defined to provide a consistent minimum expectation for students and faculty. Students and faculty should know in general what time commitment is involved for a specified number of course credits. This policy implements criteria and requirements for accreditation established by the Higher Learning Commission and compliance with the federal definition of a “credit hour” for financial aid eligibility.