The University of North Georgia (UNG) is compliant with this federal requirement. UNG determines the total credit hours awarded for courses according to the following definition of credit hour, which is published in the UNG Undergraduate Catalog and the UNG Graduate Catalog.
The unit of credit is the semester hour. A semester hour represents 150 minutes of class time per week. Thus, a class having three 50-minute lecture periods a week will generally award three semester hours of credit. Similarly, a 75-minute lecture period meeting two times a week will also award three semester hours of credit. Generally, two laboratory or activity contact hours per week are the equivalent of one lecture hour.
University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents (BOR) policy defines parameters for course delivery. This definition applies to all terms and levels of instruction and all formats and modes of course delivery (Standard Class Times). It is also in accordance with the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ stipulation that “a minimum of 750 minutes of instruction or equivalent is required for each semester credit hour.” Additionally, BOR policy defines the academic year in terms of two semesters (fall and spring) that are comprised of a minimum of 15 weeks each (containing a minimum of 75 class days each). The length of each class session within the summer semester is based on a required minimum of 750 minutes of instruction (or equivalent) for each semester hour awarded (BOR Policy Manual; 3.4.1 Semester System).
Although UNG does not have a policy to guide each discipline in assigning credit hours to proposed courses and programs, the general approval process does consider the credit hours for similar programs or courses within and outside the institution, as well as how the course accomplishes student learning and overall program outcomes required by UNG and the USG Board of Regents. UNG’s institutional polices regarding course development enable the institution to have sound and acceptable practices for determining credit awarded for courses. These practices as guided by BOR policy, professional accrediting agencies, and local procedures regulate the appropriate amount and level of credit to be awarded.
For example, new courses (or substantive course changes and course deletions) are evaluated and approved at several levels before they are added to the course catalog and subsequently to the Schedule of Classes for a given semester. Faculty within the academic department must complete the Course Review Form and submit the course proposal to the department chair and then to the dean of the appropriate college for approval. If approved by the Dean, the course proposal moves to the Provost's Council for final review and approval. (Program and Course Approval Process).
A course using a distance learning format of delivery, which has the same learning outcomes, content, and student work load as traditional delivery format courses, follows the same credit hour assignment and approval processes. All new programs, including fully online degree programs go through an extensive approval process (detailed in response to Comprehensive Standard 3.4.1), annual evaluation of student learning, and periodic comprehensive program review. As part of this process, the academic integrity and assurance of student learned is reviewed and assessed. The expectations are comparable to other degree programs at the same level at UNG and to the same degree programs at other institutions.