Course Structure

Federal Credit Hour Guidelines

For financial aid purposes, each credit hour of a full-term course must include 1 hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 2 hours of out-of-class student work each week. For sprint courses, the equivalent amount of time is compressed into fewer weeks. For more information, see the Office of the University Registrar’s Instructional Minutes Guidelines.

Credit Hours – 3 CR
Weekly Hours: Full Term – 9 hours
Weekly Hours: Sprint – 18 hours

The course guidelines below provide parameters to ensure all three types of interactions are built into every course so that all of our students–on campus or online–receive the same Miami experience they have come to know and love.

Focus on Course Type

The type of course you teach determines how best to structure it. In content-focused courses, the focus is on learning before doing. In many programs, the time students spend consuming content decreases as they ascend from foundational courses to upper-level courses. Meanwhile, the time they spend applying content increases. It is also important to reflect on the rigor required for your course level. “For today’s learners, rigor is reflected in a combination of course challenges, learning support, and design.” source

If you’re not sure what course type your class falls into, consult the course catalog, the CIM database, or colleagues in your Department.

Content-focused courses include:

Lecture-based classes

Content is delivered by the instructor (and other materials chosen by the instructor, such as readings or curated video).

Content Based Course (Lecture) Lectures 19% Readings and Content 7% Assessments 30% Activities 44%
Discussion-based courses

Examples of discussion-based are case studies and seminars, where the instructor guides students through material in a structured or semi-structured way. On the other hand, process-focused courses focus on student discovery and exploration (i.e. learning from doing).

Discussion Based Courses (Case Study; Seminar) Lectures 10% Readings and Content 13% Assessments 25% and Activities 52%

Process-focused courses include:

Activity-based courses

Examples of activity-based are projects, labs, and studios, where students collaborate, practice, or perform skills while the instructor coaches them.

Pie chart of Activity Based Courses (Project; Lab; Studio) Lectures 7% Readings and Content 7% Assessments 29% and Activities at 57%
Experiential courses

Examples of experiential are practicums, internships, or field research, where students practice skills and apply knowledge independently, but operating within a framework established by the professor.

Pie chart of Experiential Courses (Practicum, Internship, Field Research) Lecture at 5% Readings and Content at 3% Assessments at 53% and Learning Activities at 39%

In general, content courses require a high investment in creating instructor personal presence during the design phase, but a lower investment during the delivery phase. Discussion and activity courses require a moderate investment in creating instructor personal presence during both design and delivery phases. Experiential classes require a lower investment in creating instructor personal presence during the design phase and a high investment in the delivery phase.

Guidance for Dual-Listed Undergraduate and Graduate Courses