All courses taken for credit at the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) that are applied toward completion of degree and certificate requirements conform to applicable state and federal regulations regarding assignment of credit hours.
The Faculty of the Graduate School is responsible for developing, maintaining and evaluating the curriculum. Assignment of credit hours for courses are determined based on the expertise of the faculty and course learning objectives. The Office of the Provost bears the responsibility for the execution of this policy.
Assignment of Credit Hour
The IIRP has adopted a variant of the traditional “Carnegie Unit” as a measure of academic credit. This unit is known by the familiar term, “credit hour,” and is the primary academic measure by which progress toward a degree is gauged. It is recognized that such a unit measures only a part, albeit a major part, of a composite learning experience, based upon formally structured and informal interactions among faculty and students, as well as work done by students independently, outside of class.
Two hours of work outside of class (reading, writing, research, project work, etc.) are expected of students for each hour of direct classroom or online participation.
Definition of a Credit Hour
The calculation of credit hours for graduate programs follows the Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines which are consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s definition of a credit hour.
22 Pa. Code § 31.21 (5)
“A master’s degree must require the satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 semester credit hours or 45 quarter credit hours beyond the baccalaureate level.”
22 Pa. Code § 31.21 (6)(d)
“To assure academic integrity, an institution shall provide students in a distance education program access to academic and student services, including textbooks, study guides, library and other learning resources, personal interaction with faculty, tutors or other educational personnel by computer, telephone, mail or face-to-face meetings. The institution shall assure integrity of student work and provide opportunity for student assessment. These programs must comply with the regulations that apply to resident-based programs as prescribed in this chapter and Chapters 35, 36, 40 and 42 and conform to generally accepted academic practices for delivery of instruction through distance education.”
At the IIRP a three-credit graduate course comprises:
- 42 hours of classroom (“in-class” or “in-seat”) instruction, plus
- 3 hours for final examination (when applicable), plus
- 90 hours of additional work outside of class (reading, homework, research, fieldwork, project creation and other activities)
Total: 132 hours (135 hours if final exam is administered)
There are three academic terms – fall, spring and summer – within which the IIRP offers courses of varying durations. The fall and spring academic periods are at least 15 weeks long each; the summer academic period is typically less than 15 weeks long, but nevertheless adheres to the policy in terms of instruction time and the amount of work required.
The length of individual courses, whether blended or online, can vary within each academic period. Published descriptions of courses clearly state the duration of each course. Every course, regardless of its duration, adheres to the credit hour policy in terms of the required instruction time and volume of work involved to earn full credit.
Course Delivery Modalities
In-person, direct instruction at an IIRP professional development event, symposium or conference is followed by online coursework to complete a blended course. Direct instruction time for the online portion of each course is calculated based on the amount of time spent attending the in-person segment of the course. In all instances, these courses must meet the total amount of instructional and student work time required to earn full credit, based on the definition of a credit hour as described above.
These courses are offered entirely online with no on-site, in-person meetings. They have the same learning outcomes and substantive components as other courses offered by the IIRP. Contact time is satisfied by several means including, but not limited to: (a) Regular weekly instruction or interaction with an instructor for the duration of the course, and (b) Academic engagement through interactive tutorials, group discussions moderated by faculty, virtual study/project groups, engaging with class peers and online projects reviewed and graded by faculty. In all instances, these courses must meet the total amount of instructional and student work time as traditional classroom courses.
Directed and Independent Study Courses
Each course is individualized, either to allow the student to complete the requirements of an existing course on an individual basis, or to explore a personal interest relating to restorative practices not currently addressed in the curriculum. Time spent on in- person instruction, direct interaction between the instructor and student and additional outside study, research, writing, fieldwork and other activities will vary, depending on the schedule of meetings established in each individual course contract. The total time spent in independent study courses, including research, fieldwork and other activities, equals that of other IIRP courses; these courses offer comparable academic rigor.
Courses offered outside of a standard academic period in which credit hours offered are the same as for courses offered in a standard academic period. The content and substantive learning outcomes for accelerated courses are the same as those in the standard academic period. These courses must meet the total amount of instructional time and student work as standard courses.
Definitions of In-Class and Out-of-Class Time
In online and blended courses, time spent in direct learning and interaction with the instructor and classmates via our learning management system, Moodle, is considered in-class time. Time spent in work, preparation and related activities away from Moodle is considered out-of-class time.