Source:   UIC Office of Programs and Academic Assessment Website

Course Request Help Topics


Contact/Credit Hour Formula

(page 5 of course request)

Instructions

*You must select at least one instruction type and enter the corresponding contact hour value for one week’s worth of instruction.

*Contact hours and credit hours must match (see Contact/Credit Hour Formula for Courses). If they do not, you will be required to insert a rationale in the text box provided.

Contact hours are defined as the number of instructional hours students are to spend each week in the course (contact hours do not include time spent doing homework or outside preparation for class activity). Contact hours are expressed as weekly figures in the Course Request System. Knowing the total contact hours for the course will assist you in verifying that the credit hours are correct. In general,

Total contact hours taught in the course divided by 15 weeks = contact hours per week.

The total contact hours for the course should be listed in total hours listed for the topics you outlined on page 3. If you change the contact hours here, be sure to check to see if there is an effect on total contact hours listed on page 3, and adjust them if necessary.

You may choose up to 3 instruction types, with a different contact hour value for each. The contact hour value should be a whole number, although half hours (e.g., 1.5) are acceptable. Each contact hour indicated is equivalent to a 50- minute period of instruction.

Keep in mind that the general contact hours must match total the credit hours awarded for the course, according to the Contact/Credit Hour Formula for Courses.

If contact hours are greater than credit hours (e.g., the course meets more than 3 lecture hours each week yet still awards 3 hours of credit) a reason is required.

If credit hours are greater than contact hours (e.g., the course awards 3 hours of credit yet meets less than 3 hours each week), a reason is required.

Contact/Credit Hour Formula (Including Instruction Type Definitions) – Policy

This information will a) give you the contact/credit hour formulas for all instruction types, and b) define all instruction types to help you select that which is most appropriate.

In general, the University requires that contact and credit hours be equivalent, considering the UIC Contact/Credit hour formula. A one hour differential is allowed for 400- and 500-level courses offered to graduate students. See (Contact/Credit Hours Formula for Courses).

Contact hours per week in general equal credit hours, but this calculation depends on the type of instruction (see below). Laboratory, practicum, and studio types of instruction require more hours of instruction per week for each credit hour given.

Contact/Credit Hour Formula for Courses:
     
Every 50-minute instructional hour is equivalent to one contact hour when expressing information in the Course Request System.

A typical lecture course is a 3-hour course meeting 3 times per week for 15 weeks. Following the 15 weeks of instruction one week will be scheduled for final examinations. For all variable credit courses, take the average of the credit hour range, and round up to the next whole number (e.g., for a course which is 1 to 4 credit hours, indicate the contact hours as “3” lecture).

The following formula for determining the number of credit hours to be awarded to various types of instruction was approved by the Senate on May 25, 1988:

Lecture/Discussion --- One 50-minute period per week for 15 weeks is less than or equal to 1 semester credit hour (This category generally includes the instruction types lecture, lecture-discussion, discussion, quiz, conference.)

Laboratory, Practicum, Clinical Field, and Similar Experience --- Two 50-minute periods per week for 15 weeks is less than or equal to 1 semester credit hour (This category generally includes the instruction types laboratory, laboratory-discussion, practice, group practice.)

Studio and Similar Experience --- Three 50-minute periods per week for 15 weeks is less than or equal to 1 semester credit hour (This category generally includes the instruction type studio.)

Conference courses do not follow any specific contact/credit hour formula. For all conference courses, indicate the same number of contact hours as credit hours. For variable credit courses, use the average number of contact hours, rounding up if necessary, EXCEPT for thesis graduate research courses (those numbered 598, 599), in which “0” contact hours should be indicated.

Definitions of Instruction Types:

Lecture-Discussion. Class sessions are devoted to lecture and to discussion or questions and answers.

Lecture. Class sessions are devoted to lecture which is substantially uninterrupted by discussion between faculty and students.

Discussion. Class time is devoted to discussion of ideas, recapitulation, testing, questions and answers, case presentation, role plays, problem-based and case-based learning, and may (but does not always) accompany a lecture or laboratory section. Allows for more personal contact between students and instructor, which allows for individual students to express opinions, present cases, advance ideas, or answer questions; enables immediate, individualized feedback between students and instructor and opportunities for student to student feedback.

Laboratory. Students are engaged in experiments or creative work; little or no time is devoted to demonstration or general discussion. Laboratory instruction is characterized by the use or need of special facilities and equipment, such as scientific or computer equipment.

Laboratory-Discussion. Instructor demonstrates and/or discusses problems; students engage in practical experiments.

Quiz. Class time is devoted to recapitulation, testing, questions and answers, and may accompany a lecture or laboratory section.

Practice. Is used for practice teaching sections, music ensemble courses, internships in business, government or other community agencies, or cooperative education program courses.

Clinical Practice. Used for clinical or practicum sections involving the supervision of students performing in patient care set in a hospital, clinic, or community agency facility.

Clinical Group Practice. Is used for clinical sections involving the close, direct supervision of students performing in patient care course work set in a hospital, clinical, or community agency facility. Characterized by guided faculty supervision provided to small groups of students.

Conference. Indicates that the instruction is on an individual and to-be-arranged basis, and is used for honors, thesis research, independent study, or research courses. In some cases, e.g., Special Problems, one or more sections may be lecture or laboratory, and other sections conference.

Studio. Students are engaged in independent creative work; very little or no time is devoted to demonstration or general discussion. Typically used in the arts and architecture.

Contact/Credit Hour Formula – Examples

Below are contact hour samples for the credit hours where contact hours and credit hours are equal. Note that these are samples; many instruction type and hour values are possible! In all examples given below, contact and credit hours match.

  1. The course will be available for 3 credit hours only for all students
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture-Discussion               3
    OR
    Lecture                    2
    Discussion                    1

  2. The course will be available for 5 credit hours only for all students.
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture-Discussion               5
    OR
    Lecture-Discussion               3
    Discussion                    1
    Laboratory                    2

  3. The course will be available for 1 to 4 credit hours for all students.
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture-Discussion               3
    OR
    Practice                    6

  4. The 500-level course will be available to all graduate students for 4 credit hours, and the unit wishes to take advantage of differential credit
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Discussion                    3
    OR
    Laboratory                    6

    (note: if unit did not wish to utilize differential credit, then this would be 4 disc and 8 lab)

  5. The course is a 400-level course, 3 undergraduate, 4 graduate hours (differential credit).
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture                    3
    OR
    Lecture                    2
    Group Practice               2

  6. The course is a 400-level course, 1 to 4 undergraduate hours; 2 to 5 graduate hours (differential credit).
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture                    3
    OR
    Practice                    6

  7. The course awards 1 credit-equivalent, e.g., no graduation credit.
    Some sample combinations of contact hours:

    Lecture:                    1
    OR
    Laboratory                    2


Example of explanation, contact hours exceed credit:

  1. The course will be available for 5 credit hours only for all students.

    Lecture-Discussion               3
    Discussion                    1
    Laboratory                    3

    Rationale: This course includes an extensive laboratory component in which students independently complete projects. Additional contact time is allowed so students could proceed to learn/study at their own pace when preparing and performing experiments.

  2. The course will be available for 1 credit hour only for all students.

    Laboratory-discussion          3

    Rationale: There is a computer lab which will require more hands-on time.

  3. The course will be available for 3 credit hours only for all students.

    Lecture-Discussion               3
    Discussion                    2

    Rationale: Films will be shown in the course, thus requiring that more time be
    scheduled weekly.

Example of explanation, credit hours exceed contact:

  1. The course will be available for 3 credit hours only for all students.

    Lecture-Discussion               2

    Rationale: More than the usual number of study hours outside class will be required. There will be extensive student/faculty consultation on homework assignments and progress on term papers. This time will be arranged by the faculty member and student.

  2. The course will be available for 3 credit hours only for all students.

    Laboratory                    4

    Rationale: This graduate course will take place in a computer lab. While much of the time will be spend with hands-on work by the students, there will be substantial time for demonstrations interspersed with short lectures. Students will interact extensively with faculty during hands-on programming sessions.
  3. ,