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Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU)

Terminology of Degree Requirements

Charter Oak State College courses, both credit and non-credit, are conducted asynchronously using internet-based computer technology and interactive conferencing software. The College offers courses in 5, 8, 10 and 15 week formats. Faculty guide students through the courses via electronic communication.

Once matriculated, the prerequisite for all other courses is ENG 101 (English Composition 1). If the student has already successfully completed that requirement prior to matriculation, he or she will be enrolled into IDS 101 (Cornerstone), otherwise, ENG 101 will be the first course taken.

Degree requirements are expressed in terms of semester credits, levels of mastery, and subject matter areas.

Semester Credits

Since online courses are not based on "seat" time we rely on faculty to determine if the course level, student learning outcomes, and work load is equivalent to what is expected in traditional settings. Our faculty reviewers, who are content experts in the subject area that they are evaluating, are provided with our course-level expectations, a scoring rubric based on Quality Matters criteria, and the "seat" time expectations as a guide. They review the course syllabus and assignments, which include the course outcomes and grading rubrics.  In addition, a faculty member sits in the course the first time it is taught.

Seat time expectations: 

  • Lecture courses meet the equivalent of 50 minutes (in addition to two hours of out-of-class student work time) per week for 15 weeks (or 750 minutes total) for one semester hour of credit.  For a three-credit course, it would be equivalent to 150 minutes of lecture and 300 minutes of out-of-class time per week.
  • A student enrolled in a three-credit course offered in an 8-week (half-semester) format should expect 6 (50 minute) hours of lecture (300 minutes)  and 12 (50 minute) hours of out of class preparation( per week.
  • A student enrolled in a three credit 5 week course should expect 9 (50 minutes) of lecture (450 minutes) and 18 (50 minute) hours (900minutes) of out of class preparation per week.

Levels of Mastery

Two levels of mastery are recognized, lower and upper. Courses are numbered 100-400. Courses at the 100- and 200- level are lower level; courses at the 300- and 400-level courses are upper level.

100 level - assumes no previous college-level knowledge.

400 level - assumes prior study at the 200 and 300 level and a strong knowledge of the field. Students should not register for 400 level courses if they have not taken 100 - 300 level courses in the field.

Lower-level credits are awarded for learning that:

  • is at the introductory college level in nature;
  • assumes no prerequisite college-level or basic level of knowledge in the fields;
  • is typically acquired in courses numbered in the 100s and 200s; and
  • provides a broad survey of skills or a survey of specific areas of study.

Upper-level credits are awarded for learning that:

  • assumes knowledge of the language of the fields;
  • is focused on some aspect of the fields;
  • may include research in a specialized topic;
  • assumes prior study at the intermediate level; and
  • is earned at a senior institution of higher education or the equivalent.

In the case of Individualized Studies and Liberal Studies concentrations, credits will be classified according to discipline norms.

This page was last published on June 23, 2016
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