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Committee On Online Learning

Contact Hours

Please see below for the following:

What are Contact Hours?

In preparing an online or hybrid proposal, an instructor will need to explain how each instructional hour will be implemented throughout each week of his/her online or hybrid course.  This can be done using percentages or actual hourly increments.  For example an instructor may determine that 25 percent of his/her course will offer lectures and presentations, (13.5 contact hours), while another 25 percent of the contact hours will be used in constructivist assignments or asynchronistic discussion and peer responses, (13.5 contact hours).  These are the same kinds of methods of instructional contact that are often used in a face-to-face class.

The total number of contact hours in your course should approximate the equivalent number of hours required in an on-campus setting.  For example, a 3-unit course typically meets on campus for 54 contact hours of instruction, assessment, discussion, and group activities, (Note: Instructional Hours are 50 minutes long). 

In accounting for contact hours an instructor needs to consider how each hour will be dispersed throughout each week of his/her online or hybrid course.

 The following chart illustrates some sample activities for an online class.  These are suggestions and each instructor would use whichever activities, best suited to the type of course and discipline being offered:

Contact Hour or “In-class” Activities

Read lectures/ content

Participate in Discussion Board Forums

Assessments – quizzes, tests, surveys

Presentations From the Instructor

View multimedia content

Group Problem Solving

Transformative Learning Activities in class: Responding to other learners in regard to certain questions that challenge a learner’s perspective on key issues in the course materials.

Reading another Student’s Blog

Posting feedback, Reading student posts, and Peer Reviewing other Student’s papers on the discussion board or group forum.

Group Projects that include multiple posts to each group member within their designated group forum space.

“In class” reading of short texts, scenarios or quick discussion questions.

Reading another student’s presentation. (This would be the equivalent of listening and viewing a student presentation in a face-to-face class.)

Constructivist Assignments that target real-life applications for class discussion on the Discussion Board.

In addition, students should be expected to spend two preparatory hours “outside of class” for every hour in class on reading, studying, preparing assignments, and other homework; these additional hours are not considered to be “contact hours”. Thus, you will need to account for the actual contact hours in your proposal.

Preparatory or “Outside of Class” Activities

Read Textbooks

Research

Preparing assignments

Viewing an internet site for one’s own research purposes.

Individual Reflective Writing

Journaling

Writing /Composing a Blog

Analyzing another student’s ideas individually.

Using a WIKI for posting ideas to other class members in preparation for a Group Project.

Outside reading of additional texts pertaining to the course subject matter as homework preparation.

Preparing an individual class presentation.

Reviewing class notes.

In summary, “contact hours” are usually those segments of instructional time where the student is actively engaged in learning activities and would reflect the same type of instruction implemented in a traditional face-to-face classroom.  Therefore, instructors are encouraged to offer a clear breakdown of “contact hours” in the section of the proposal entitled, “Course Content Delivery”.

Sample Contact Hour Activities Plus Hours Conducted ONLINE

screenshot of sample contact hours

Sample Contact Hour Activities Plus Hours Conducted IN-PERSON

screenshot of sample contact hours

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