Non-Traditional and Intensive Courses

Policy Re: Credit Offerings for Non-Standard Term and/or Intensive Courses, Undergraduate

Approved 10.30.23 APC

  1. Examples of non-standard term and intensive courses at Wheaton College are summer term courses, short-term domestic or study abroad program (“Wheaton In”) courses, Wheaton College Summer Institute courses, and courses offered during Fall Break, Spring Break, or prior to the start of full semester courses.
  2. The courses will be scheduled within parts of term, with the following requirements:

    a. The student can complete independent pre-work during the standard term (fall, spring, summer) and prior to the start of the part of term in which the course is scheduled.

    b. The student cannot be required to interact with other students or the instructor or complete assignments prior to the start of the part of term in which the course is scheduled.

    c. All the student’s work must be submitted prior to the end of the part of term in which the course is scheduled, unless the student requests and is approved for an Incomplete (INC) grade prior to the end of the part of term in which the course is scheduled.
  3. The standard expectation for non-standard term programs and/or courses is that they will offer up to one credit hour per week, for either the on-campus or off-campus portions. The number of credits will therefore correspond to the number of the weeks of direct contact hours. This standard is analogous to a 16-credit hour course load taken over a 16- week semester. Programs offering one credit hour/week must consist of at least 37.5 hours of total instructional time (generally 12.5 direct contact hours and 25 hours of outside-of-class work) per week. Programs are expected to submit a course syllabus and calendar that indicates how the total instructional time will be met.

    a. In consultation with the appropriate academic dean and department chair, a maximum of 1.125 credits per week may be offered for non-standard term and/or intensive courses, if it is deemed that the nature of the courses and the academic subject will allow for a greater number of profitable instructional hours. This is analogous to an 18-credit hour course load taken over a 16-week semester. In order to offer 1.125 credit hours/week (e.g., 9 credits in 8 weeks), programs must consist of at least 42.25 hours of total instructional time (generally 14.25 direct contact hours and 28 hours of outside-of-class work) per week. Again, programs are expected to submit a course syllabus and calendar that indicates how the total instructional time will be met.

    b. If a course is offered with less than one credit hour per week of instructional time, the number of weeks of the course must be extended so that the total amount of required instructional time (direct contact hours and outside of class time) is included in the course (not to exceed the part of term start and end dates). For example, a 4-credit course could provide 6.25 direct contact hours and 12.5 hours of outside-of-class work for 8 weeks.
  4. Departments are not obligated to accept more than 1 semester credit/week towards degree requirements for work completed on non-Wheaton, short-term programs or at other institutions via transfer credit.
  5. Instructional time

    a. Direct contact hours consist of formal class sessions with the instructor(s), guest lectures, guided tours, cross-cultural discussion sessions, supervised practical exercises, or other in situ direct instruction, in each case assuming that the faculty instructor is present and that the program participants will actively reflect upon the experience.

    b. Work outside of the classroom that does not count as direct contact hours would include: homework assignments; general class preparation; individual field assignments such as interviews, participant observation, or other forms of research; practice in relevant skills; and participation in other activities that are required and assessed as a course assignment Time spent simply in travel, individual leisure, meals, and general day-to-day activities would not count as work outside of the classroom.

    c. Leaders are expected to balance the workload over the duration of the program. However, given that activities and program logistics may vary each week, the program would only need to meet the overall number of hours required for the total credits offered and would not be constrained by the weekly hour goal (e.g., 37.5 or 42.25). In other words, not every individual week needs to have precisely the same number of instructional hours, provided that the work is generally distributed evenly throughout the program and the total number of required hours for the program as a whole is achieved.

    d. When planning a program, leaders should allow for adequate rest and should prudently regulate time on-task, so as to optimize student capacity to focus on course material, and to allow adequate time for meaningful reflection. In immersion/cross-cultural settings or programs with high levels of travel-which are more intellectually, physically, and emotionally challenging or taxing than a typical on-campus course-students often become saturated much earlier in an instructional "period." Short-term study abroad programs should allow for this extra challenge.