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Credit Hour Definition Policy

The College defines credit hours for both undergraduate and graduate programs in relation to the Carnegie unit. The Undergraduate Academic Regulations of American International College (effective May 1, 2003) in Section VII and the Graduate Academic Regulations of American International College (effective May 5, 2004) in Section V define the basic unit of credit as the semester hour. All courses have an assigned semester-hour value, as listed in the Catalog or related official publications. These policy documents both state that "a minimum of fifty (50) minutes class time per week is equivalent to one semester hour" and further state that "courses offered during summer sessions, intersession and weekend sessions must contain at least the same number of contact minutes." (Section IX of the Undergraduate regulations and Section VII of the Graduate regulations). In designing courses, instructors use a guideline of two hours work outside of class for each hour in class.

When courses are developed using new delivery models - such as, distance, on-line, hybrid, and low residency - they are reviewed by content experts who have taught the course on ground to ensure that the work load and engagement required of the student are equivalent to standard credit hours. Course developers are responsible for identifying the amount of work that is represented in intended learning outcomes established for the course and verified by student achievement. Student engagement may include online seminars, threaded discussions, meeting with advisors, and additional independent work in lieu of class time. Conformity with the policy is also reinforced in a review of course content by the administrator of the program in question. When the course is taught for the first time, it is also monitored for pedagogy to ensure conformity with the standard credit hour requirements. Continuous assessment of course outcomes is used to verify that assignment of work-loads set in the original course design are consistent with achievement of learning objectives.

Practica and internships provide an opportunity for the student to gain experience outside of class that is directly applicable to his/her course of study. They are approved, supervised, and evaluated by a faculty advisor who is responsible for maintaining the academic integrity of the experience, establishing learning objectives, and measuring appropriate outcomes. Practica and internships require a minimum of 126 hours of on-site work in order to qualify as the equivalent of a three credit course.

This policy has been developed in alignment with the U.S. Department of Education's guidance regarding the definition of credit hours published on October 29, 2010.

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