What is a credit hour in an online course?
New York State outlines a Semester Hour to mean a credit, point, or other unit granted for the satisfactory completion of a course. Each credit hour requires at least 15 hours (of 50 minutes each) of instruction and at least 30 hours of supplementary assignments outside the classroom. The State also indicates that the credit hour must be adjusted proportionately to translate the value of other academic formats of study in relation to the credit granted for study in the traditional classroom.
How do you measure credit hours in an online/web assisted/blended course? In general the amount of work must be equivalent in each delivery format and the course needs to have the same learning objectives and outcomes as the traditional course. In addition the syllabus for an online course needs to be as comprehensive as a traditional course. Calculating a credit hour for an online course can include the amount of lecture time which can include lecture notes, recordings of lecture, or synchronous class time. Additional time elements to consider are readings, writing assignments (including the discussion boards), exam/quizzes and student engagement. With an online course demonstrating and assessing student engagement is important. Student engagement can be demonstrated by group work (discussion boards, file exchanges, projects), recorded assignments, self-reflections, and peer review. Assessment measures can include any form of feedback including rubrics that offer the students timely evaluation of their course work.