Honolulu Community College

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The Credit Hour

I understand the overwhelming nature of the course. The lab is a big chunk, just as it would be taking in on campus where you would spend as much time in the lab as in the classroom.

Although it is the standard for college courses the 'formula' is not well known among students generally. College courses are designed for each student to engage in study outside the classroom. The classroom is the platform and forum where issues and information related to the course are presented and discussed. To make the connections outside study is required. Part of this is reading or writing, part is thinking and organizing information to make connections. The amounts of those various components will vary from course to course and from lesson to lesson in a particular course.

Lecture courses earn 1 credit hour for each hour spent in class while lab courses earn 1 credit hour for each three hours spent in class.

The reason for this 3 and 1 credit ratio is based on the traditional formula that in a 'lecture' course only one-third of the time is spent in the classroom, the other two-thirds is outside, independent study. So strictly speaking a 3 credit lecture class involves 9 hours per week. Add three hours of lab to that and it's 12hours.

A semester has 15 weeks, so the 30 programs are broadcast two per week, containing the content of a full semester. The number of hours compare like this:






(includes in-class and outside independent study)


























You see that the time works out the same in either mode, but since there are fewer TV programs the formula 'suggests' that you should spend 3.5 hours per program in addition to the 1 hour spent watching the TV 'lecture', for a total of 4.5 hours per program. Not included here is the time spent on exams, which are usually given during classroom time, so the actual time per program would be reduced accordingly if exams are considered in the equation.

Regardless of the actual time spent, this is the time allotted for student work. Some courses may allow for less time spent than this, and different students may spend different amounts of time on different courses. Some are harder than others since everyone learns differently and people differ in aptitude for different things.

This is the basis for credit hours nationwide, and accrediting bodies (the ones that give a university its accreditation) are strict about those numbers when accrediting an institution.

You should expect to spend that much time in any course. If you can achieve the goals and objectives in the course in less time that is good, but it isn't fair to yourself to expect to be able to in each and every course.

Ideally the grade in the course reflects how well the objectives of the course were met. How you meet them is your responsibility, and we must always balance time with desired outcome. Hopefully we learn to study and learn efficiently so that all the goals and objectives are met in the least amount of time for an "A" grade, and that real learning takes place.

I try to meet those challenges in teaching and try to encourage every student to strive for that ideal and it is rewarding from this end to to see others striving for it as well. Even more satisfyng is success.

The choice is yours, and will be reflected in your grade. Good efforts that produce good results toward achieving the goals and objectives will be rewarded with good grades and a good feeling about the learning experience. Let's try to maximize all of these:

If you have questions about this page or want to discuss it, send me a note at the course email (on Laulima) or post a message on laulima for other students to engage in dialogue.

When it comes to science, get physical!

updated 08.08.08
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