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Guidelines for Course Categories, Class Scheduling and Publications - 1C1

CLASS SCHEDULING

The Office of the Registrar is charged with assembling class schedule requests from the various academic units. From these inputs, a master schedule of classes is structured and published each term. The Registrar has the responsibility for assuring conformance to the guidelines established by the Provost in consultation with the Academic Affairs Council. In exercising the responsibility, the Registrar works with the appropriate academic dean. Guidelines that apply to the preparation and maintenance of the master schedule follow.

Class Offerings

Within any existing University and school guidelines, each department determines (a) the classes to be offered for a given term, (b) the number of sections of each, and (c) the size (maximum) of each section. The determination is made upon anticipated student need and available teaching faculty. Student need is gauged by past enrollment patterns and future enrollment estimates as modified by any recent curricular changes.

Each of the types of General Education courses should be offered in the evening and/or on Saturday at least one time per academic year in order to permit orderly progress of the evening/weekend student. Compliance shall be monitored by the Provost. 

Classes may be scheduled using one of the following formats:

  1. Face-to-Face - Classes meet in-person or through video conferencing between sites. Online technologies may be utilized to supplement the Face-to-Face format. Online supplements would not exceed 29% of the overall class. These classes, with the exception of Independent Study and Individualized Learning, will be assigned classroom space for every class session.

  2. Blended - Blended classes will be scheduled to combine Face-to-Face and Online formats. These classes will be scheduled to include an online component from 30-99%, in which the online component substitutes for a portion of the face-to-face meetings. These classes need to be assigned classroom space for the in-person portion of the class (up to 70% of overall class).

  3. Online - 100% of the class takes place online. Online classes shall not require campus meeting times; therefore, these classes will not be assigned classroom space.

New courses or modifications in existing courses may be implemented pursuant to Policy 1Q8.

Space Assignment

Each academic year, general classroom space will be preassigned by the designated representative of the Provost and Vice Chancellor to each academic unit for use in planning and preparing that unit's class schedules. Units may schedule as they deem appropriate within the limits of the preassigned space, in conformance with the other scheduling guidelines herein published. Continuous review of the preassignment awards will be made by the Provost's representative, and adjustments in allocation will occur as warranted.

In order to efficiently assign space and maximize the use of University resources, space will be assigned as follows:

  1. Face-to-Face - Classroom space must be assigned by the final proofing phase of the class schedule. When space is not readily identified, the class will be placed on reserve until changes can be evaluated.

  2. Blended - Classroom space should be assigned during the final proofing stage of the class schedule. When this is not possible, meeting time and space assignments for Blended classes may be provided to the Office of the Registrar no later than four weeks prior to the opening of registration for the term. Space will not be held or assigned until meeting requirements are provided.

  3. Online - Classroom space will not be assigned. Asynchronous course activities are typical for online courses. If synchronous online meetings or activities are required, meeting time requirements must be provided to the Office of the Registrar no later than four weeks prior to the opening of registration.


UNITS OF INSTRUCTION AND CLASS HOUR REQUIREMENTS

A class hour is used as a unit of instruction to quantify student learning and is defined as a period of 50 minutes. For scheduling purposes, a class hour is composed of 50 minutes of instructional time and a 10 minute break. Courses may meet class hour requirements in one of three ways:

  1. Seat-Time-Based Approach:  A credit hour is typically related to seat time, as a minimum of three class work hours (50 minutes of classroom instruction and an additional two hours1 of out-of-class student work) each week during a 15-week semester.  Using a seat-time approach, one credit of instruction should be approximated by 37.5 hours of combined direct instruction and student work per semester.

  2. Alternative Approach:  If a traditional, seat-time-based approach to instruction is not the principal mode of learning for an academic experience (e.g., laboratory courses, internships, studio work, thesis, readings, independent study, practicum), the student time required to complete the course should reasonably approximate 37.5 hours of student work per credit.

  3. Outcomes-Based Approach:  Credit may also be awarded for an amount of learning "equivalent" to learning in a seat-time-based course as documented by intended learning outcomes and verified by assessment of student achievement.
When there is no equivalent seat-time-based course for comparison, the equivalent effort required for the proposed number of credits must be established by the instructor when the new competency-based course is proposed.  The equivalency will be reviewed and must be affirmed by the Curriculum Council or Graduate Council before the course is approved.

SCHEDULING PATTERNS

Classes may be scheduled within the time frames approved by the Provost. Schools of Dental Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy are responsible for scheduling class meetings that fulfill Federal Compliance Guidelines and may follow different class scheduling requirements.  Exceptions to the standard time frames must be approved by the Provost or the designated representative of the Provost.

  1. During the standard academic year, weekday class schedules will commence at 8:00 a.m. Evening classes should be scheduled to take into account the interests of the student populations that most typically enroll in those courses and shall conform to the following patterns: 

    1. Non-General Education, 3-credit courses meeting twice weekly must begin at 4:30, 5:30, 6:00, 7:00, 7:30, 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Those meeting once weekly must begin at 4:30, 5:30, 6:00 or 7:30 p.m.

    2. Three-credit General Education courses must begin at 6:00, 7:30, or 9:00 p.m.

    3. Alternative class formats are permitted provided their schedules conform to "Scheduling Patterns 1a and 1b" above.

  2. The traditional, seat-time-based or most typical class will be the three-hour class. It will meet either in three weekly sessions of 50 minutes each on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (no other combination of 50 minute sessions is acceptable); in two weekly sessions of 75 minutes each; or in one weekly session of 150 minutes. The twice-weekly, 75 minute session format may meet in either morning or afternoon Tuesday-Thursday, or on Monday-Wednesday after 12:00 noon.  Three-hour courses may meet in a 75 minute format on Monday and Wednesday before 12:00 noon only with prior approval of the Provost. The parameters outlined in the section "Missed Class Sessions" apply for all courses offered in this format.

    The following chart represents the most typical meeting patterns for three credit hour classes:

    Days of
    the week
    Days per
    semester
    Minutes/day Total minutes
    per semester
    Total hours
    per semester
    MWF 45 50 2250 37.5
    TR 30 75 2250 37.5
    One 15 150 2250 37.5
  3. Laboratory format courses, and lecture format courses other than those carrying three hours credit, can meet vertically in blocks of several class-hour segments either three times weekly, twice weekly, or once weekly. If three times weekly, the classes should meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If twice weekly, they should meet either in a Tuesday-Thursday sequence, or in some variation of Monday-Wednesday-Friday sequence (MW, WF, MF).  The parameters outlined in the section "Missed Class Sessions" apply for all courses offered in this format.

  4. With the approval of the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor, courses can meet in any special format which is pedagogically sound at the prescribed rate of 750 minutes of class instruction per credit-hour per term. This applies to any term, not merely summer, and to any scheduling category (i.e., weekday, evening, and weekend).  The parameters outlined in the section "Missed Class Sessions" apply for all courses offered in this format.

  5. Because most weekend (Saturday) classes meet only once weekly, the parameters outlined in "Scheduling Patterns 4" above are applicable. Additional parameters are required, however, especially for courses that are not program-specific (e.g., General Education courses and non-major courses). The standard class times for a 3-semester hour course meeting on Saturday will be 9:00 a.m. until 12:20 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. until 4:20 p.m. (This assumes that weekend classes will meet for 13 of 16 weekends thus allowing breaks for holidays and the start of classes after day/evening classes.) It is also possible to offer courses in special format, e.g., for six Saturdays meeting from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for three-credit-hour courses.  The parameters outlined in the section "Missed Class Sessions" apply for all courses offered in this format.

COURSE CATEGORIES

Typical courses do not share pedagogical resources, such as space, meeting time, and instructors. When resources are shared, authorization must be obtained from the Provost or the Provost's designee. The following categories of courses will be used based on the degree to which resources are shared.

  • Cross-listed courses: These courses are offered by two or more teaching units (with different prefixes and sometimes different numbers). The course title and content are the same and instruction is given simultaneously. These courses are at the same level and are identical in every way. Every offered section of the course is the same, regardless of the department prefix under which it is offered. The courses are interchangeable for degree requirements and cannot be repeated under different prefixes for additional credit.

  • Shared-space courses: These courses are unique with different pedagogies and learning goals that meet in the same time and place to share resources. These courses can be at different levels (e.g., 400 and 500). If so, they are distinct courses taught at different levels appropriate to the higher or lower course number. If one of these courses is at the graduate level and an instructor is shared, then the instructor must have graduate faculty status. Generally, these are studio courses.

  • Cross-taught courses: These 400- and 500-level courses are taught simultaneously - i.e., at the same time and by the same instructor. The 500-level course in these pairs must be differentiated from the 400-level course in terms of learning goals, pedagogy, and evaluation. In addition, for at least 33% of the meeting time (face-to-face and/or online) students at the 500-level must be engaged in activities that are substantially different and separate from the 400-level activities and meet the level requirements expected for a 500-level course. Because the primary reason for this category is to provide expanded curricular options to graduate students in programs under considerable resource or enrollment constraints, approval for these courses will be temporary, with a maximum of 3 years, and approval will be contingent on a plan for the program to address the underlying enrollment or resource issue.

  • 400-level courses available for graduate credit: Students may earn graduate credit only in 400-level courses that have been approved for graduate credit. These courses must contain additional requirements for graduate credit that are explicitly stated in the syllabi, and graduate students must be evaluated at a higher standard than undergraduate students taking that same 400-level course. The Graduate School can be contacted for graduate differentiation examples and best practices.


CONDENSED FORMAT COURSES

Condensed format classes may be scheduled as follows:

  • During Fall and Spring semesters, courses may be offered on an 8-week format and must coincide with either the first 8-weeks or last 8-weeks (including final exam week) of the semester.

  • During Summer semester, courses may be offered on a 10-week format or on a 5-week format.  A 5-week class must coincide with either the first 5 weeks or last 5 weeks of the semester.
  • Minimum amount of time for a condensed format course is 3 weeks.  This 3 week option can only be offered during the break between Spring and Summer semesters and is only available for 1-, 2-, or 3-credit hour courses.


MISSED CLASS MEETINGS

If a scheduled class meeting is missed for any reason (e.g., legal holiday, instructor illness, travel, or weather closures), students will be assigned alternative activities designed to meet the mandated time required and enhance the learning process. Example activities include, but are not limited to, recorded lecture, discussion, virtual meeting, guest speaker, proctored exam/quiz, individual or team activity, and additional class meeting (traditional/online, synchronous/asynchronous), as determined to be appropriate by the department or program. The department or program is responsible for documenting the alternative activities in lieu of seat time, such that documentation is accessible for auditors and evaluators.


SCHEDULE CHANGES

After the University schedule of classes for a given term has been published, changes in existing sections should be minimal. From the time the schedule is in print until the end of the term, any desired change to the scheduled elements of existing sections, as well as added or cancelled sections, must be reported by the department on forms provided for that purpose, signed by an academic dean, and sent to the Office of Academic Scheduling for processing. Major changes in schedule (i.e., those that could adversely affect student ability to devise and/or maintain a viable schedule, such as changes in meeting day or time, credit hours, etc.) must be accompanied by an explanation and forwarded to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management for approval prior to being effective. No other action in changing the schedule can be accepted by the Office of Academic Scheduling.


MINIMUM ENROLLMENT

The "15-10-5" rule is applicable. This rule requires that, in order to be held, a 500-level course must have a minimum enrollment of 5, a 300 or 400-level course must have a minimum of 10, and a 100 or 200-level course must have a minimum of 15. However, at the discretion of an academic dean, this requirement may be waived. A report of such waivers shall be submitted annually to the Provost by each Dean.


SUMMER TERM SCHEDULING

Certain special scheduling criteria may be approved by the Provost to apply to the summer term. 

1It is recognized that not all students work at the same pace. This value represents the minimum time that the instructor expects the typical student will require in order to complete the assigned learning activities and accomplish the intended learning outcomes for the course. [return to referring text within the policy]


Approved by Provost effective 6/22/16

This policy was issued on June 29, 2016, replacing the February 25, 2016 version.
Document Reference: 1C1
Origin: PRAM 76; OP 8/27/91; CC 35-91/92; CC 12-96/97; PVC 4/1/14; CC#25-15/16 and GR 14/15-22; CC#45-15/16 and GR15/16-14

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