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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Putting a Round Peg Into a Square Hole - Calculating Credit 'hours' for Online Learning

Kassy Tyler (Joint Special Operations University, USA)
Curt Harig (Joint Special Operations University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 2:30pm
Leadership, Values and Society
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Theory/Conceptual Framework
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Asia 2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 8

As online learning champions, how can we update the time-based Carnegie unit methodology into the future e-learning ecosystem?

Extended Abstract

Much has been written about the continued use of the Carnegie Unit (Carnegie Foundation, 2014; New America, 2012) or credit hour as the zeitgeist questions the value of college degrees through the lens of student debt and employer requirements. As we debate the merits of the possible continuance of the contact hour or seat-based learning quality paradigm, where does distance learning provide a voice in the discussion? Why are accreditors using words like "reasonably approximate" and "institutionally established equivalency" still assuming that seat time equates to learning ,which was not the intent of the Carnegie Unit. Where and why does that fit into the online learning ecosystem, MOOCs, digital badging and other forms of flexible learning that are not tied to time spent in a chair? The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching titled its January 2015 report, "A century old standard in a changing education landscape" appropriately, and states on page 2 "it [Carnegie Unit] was never intended to function as a measure of what students learn." So how does online higher education transform itself as we delivery more flexible learning options to measure student performance and award credit 100 years later?

Presentation Goals:
In this interactive session we will:
* Analyze the current state of the Carnegie unit
* Identify the pros and cons of maintaining the status quo
* Explore current regional accreditation guidelines for the determination of credit units for distance learning
* Discuss current research on distance learning and the credit hour.

The presenters will engage attendees in a conversation intended to collectively move the distance learning credit unit forward as designers and administrators of online learning. Be prepared to share how your institution determines credit units/hours/contact hours. Examples include:
* Your credit hour determination policies and how they work at your institution in terms of online learning
* Blended learning curricula samples and how they're calculated in terms of credit hours
* How your institution interprets the federal definition of a "credit hour" for distance learning

Take aways:
> Awareness of the current credit hour usage conundrum for online learning
> Collectively become part of the voice to advance the calculation of credit in online learning and identify possible alternatives
> Shared innovative options for measuring and documenting learning
> Identify common measures of student learning

Casey, F. (2015). The credit hour is here to stay, at least for now. Chronicle of Higher Education.
Laitinen, A. (2012) Cracking the credit hour. New America Foundation.
Schiller, B. (2015). Credit for actually learning-not time in class-is shaking up higher education. www.fastcoexist.com.
Silva, E., White, T. and Toch, T. (2015). The Carnegie unit: A Century-old standard in a changing education landscape. Retrieved from http://cdn.carnegiefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Carnegie_Un...

Lead Presenter

Kassy Tyler, Ed. D. promotes online and blended learning innovation at the Joint Special Operations
University which is the higher education division of the United States Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB, FL.
Kassy serves as the institution's Director of Distance Learning and earned her doctorate degree at the
University of West Florida.
Curt Harig, Ed. D. is a Course Director in the Undergraduate Studies Department of the College of Special
Operations within the Joint Special Operations University where he directs the Special Operations Forces
Interagency Collaboration course to educate national security professionals on national level strategies,
policies, and collaborative efforts to counter terrorism. Curt earned his doctorate degree at Capella


We invite attendees to bring information regarding their institution's policies on the calculation of credit hours for their online courses; how your institution interprets the federal definition of a credit hour and your thoughts on how the dialogue on the credit hour should move forward for online and blended learning.