When assigning credit hours to its courses, Upper Iowa University's objective is to follow the U.S. Department of Education standards. Courses at Upper Iowa University are assigned appropriate credit hours based on direct instruction of faculty, outside-of-class work and/or course objectives/student learning outcomes expected of students enrolled in such courses. Upper Iowa University offers courses in a variety of locations (domestically and internationally) and learning experiences (face-to-face, online, hybrid and independent study) in up to six academic terms per year ranging in length from five to sixteen weeks. The most common term length is eight weeks across learning experiences. No matter the format or length of term, the students enrolled must demonstrate mastery of the course objectives/student learning outcomes established for the course, and each course must meet the standards for credit established by the U.S. Department of Education.
Courses at Upper Iowa University are assigned from one to seven credit hours. The most common number of credit hours assigned to a course is three credit hours. Many courses at Upper Iowa University meet the common definition of credit established by the U.S. Department of Education (i.e., one hour of classroom or direct instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work) per credit hour per week for approximately seven and a half weeks, plus finals (eight weeks). Other courses meet the U.S. Department of Education standard by in-class instruction, online instruction, and other types of instructor-directed activity, such as laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, student teaching , or other academic work that is directed and supervised by the faculty member, together with required outside-of-class activity (e.g., reading, working on projects, writing papers, creating art work, developing presentations). The combined class and outside-of-class work, combined with demonstrated student mastery of course objectives/student learning outcomes make up the minimum time expected of an Upper Iowa University student.
Upper Iowa University approves all courses and assigned credit hours through a comprehensive peer review process which includes review and approval by the appropriate academic division or School, the appropriate curriculum committee, and/or the full faculty or senior administration to ensure that each course, no matter the learning experience or term length, meets the course objectives/student learning outcomes established for the course.
Upper Iowa University Learning Time Guidelines
In order to demonstrate that Upper Iowa is following the standards established by the U.S. Department of Education and Higher Learning Commission, Upper Iowa University has established a good faith estimate of learning time associated with each course and the assigned credit hours.
Undergraduate. Upper Iowa University has determined that the learning-time-to-credit equivalence for an undergraduate course is roughly 35-37.5 hours per credit. This is based on the general expectation for a three-credit class of approximately two hours of outside-of-class work for each hour of class (300 minutes in class + 600 minutes out of class x 7 to7.5 weeks of class = 6,300-6,750 minutes = 105-112.5 hours for a three-credit course). Thus, for a face-to-face course, each credit awarded to a course, the students can expect to spend 35-37.5 hours in the learning experience, participating in instructor-directed activity, or engaged in course work preparing for class.
For eight-week terms (course including finals):
Courses that are 4 credits—students should be engaged at least 17-20 hours per week.
Courses that are 3 credits—students should be engaged at least 14-15 hours per week.
Courses that are 2 credits—students should be engaged at least 9-10 hours per week.
Courses that are 1 credit—students should be engaged at least 4.5-5 hours per week.
Graduate. Upper Iowa University has determined that the learning-time-to-credit equivalence for a graduate online course is roughly 45-53 hours per credit. This is based on the general expectation for a three-credit class of approximately 17-20 hours per week in the learning experience participating in instructor-directed activity, or engaged course-work preparing for class.
Upper Iowa will continue to refine and update its credit hour policies to reflect its multiple educational locations and learning experiences. April 2012