Compressed or Accelerated Delivery Courses

Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS

Compressed or accelerated courses are courses typically offered outside of a standard 15-week semester or winter or summer term in which the credit hours offered are the same as full semester or term courses. The content and substantive learning outcomes are the same as those in the full semester or term. These courses must meet the federal, state and Higher Learning Commission policies and definitions of standard instructional minutes contact time within the time frame the compressed version is offered.

These guidelines are based upon the following principles:

  • Miami University serves an increasing number of adult learners, military personnel and students who desire classes on a different time frame than full semester or term, as well as using a different instruction delivery mode or location, such as online or study abroad. Although Miami (particularly on the Oxford campus) will continue to serve a majority of traditionally aged students in a residential setting, it is also committed to providing flexible methods for the delivery of instruction for particular groups of students who are not able or do not wish to be limited to the traditional semester or term format.
  • Development of nontraditional methods of instruction is encouraged when the methods are clearly aligned with the goals of the academic program and needs of the students.
  • The University provides and supports the traditional semester credit courses of 14 weeks of instruction as well as sprint courses of 6, 8 and 12 weeks during the fall and spring semesters, in addition to a subsequent final examination week. It also provides and supports courses of varying lengths and credits during the winter and summer terms.

Compressed courses are defined as credit courses provided in a shorter time frame which meet the following guidelines:

  1. Compressed courses should clearly be the academic equivalent of courses taken on the normal semester or term schedule. For example, a course that is taught in the full 15-week semester and is also taught in compressed mode in the winter term should have similar amounts of reading and writing assigned in both delivery formats.
  2. Both compressed and traditional lecture courses should require students to spend approximately two hours of preparation, (i.e., research or writing time or other impactful learning activities) outside of class for each one hour of class time. This formula (two hours of preparation for every one hour in class during the semester) does not apply to hands-on experiences such as laboratory or studio since students do the majority of the work required during the scheduled class meeting time. See also below for guidelines relating to faculty-led study abroad programs.
  3. Per federal regulations, the maximum number of days before or after the start and end dates of the term (as shown on the Academic Calendar) in which instruction can occur across the University is fourteen (14); in addition, classes beyond the end of a semester or term cannot overlap a subsequent term with the exception of winter term classes may overlap into spring semester.
  4. To ensure that students are learning to their fullest, students should only be asked to devote a maximum of nine hours per day to complete their academic work (e.g., attending class and completing the required work for the classes for which they are enrolled).
  5. No more than a rate of one semester credit can be earned in four days of instruction, if the entire work of that class is contained in that four-day period (e.g., not utilizing the fourteen-day period mentioned in #3). As such, no more than two semester credits can be earned in eight days of instruction, if the entire work of the class is contained within those eight days of instruction. Similarly, no more than three semester credits can be earned in twelve days of instruction, if the entire work of the class is contained within those twelve days of instruction; and no more than four semester credits can be earned in sixteen days of instruction, if the entire work of the class is contained within those sixteen days of instruction. No more than five semester credits can be earned in twenty days of instruction, if the entire work of the class is contained within those twenty days of instruction; and no more than six semester credits can be earned in twenty-four days of instruction, if the entire work of the class is contained within those twenty-four days of instruction.
  6. It is assumed that study abroad workshop courses may offer instruction up to seven days in a week, whereas courses offered on any campus may offer instruction up to six days in a week. In some cases, it may also be appropriate to have students in study abroad programs engage in programming in preparation of the experience.
  7. Under unusual circumstances, and only upon the approval of the appropriate dean (or dean’s designee), greater than one credit hour may be offered in a four-day period, two credits may be offered in an eight-day period, three credits may be offered in a twelve-day period or four credits may be offered in a sixteen-day period. The chair or program director must provide the Dean with the proposed syllabus, a written evaluation of the proposed compressed course comparison with the same or similar course that is conducted during the usual time-frame, and other evidence of its suitability for acceleration. Other evidence to be provided includes the following:
    • The course is of a highly intensive nature and the students admitted to the course are carefully selected for their ability to handle such an intensive program, or
    • The course involves intensive and guided cultural or field immersion where out-of-class and in-class time clearly advances the learning outcomes of the course (e.g., foreign language course taught in the native speaking country; international service learning or field experience that includes hands-on inquiry in the field such as an archeological dig), or
    • The course requires graded work done prior to or subsequent to the term of classroom instruction so that the total amount of work required for the course is the clear equivalent of the same number of semester hours of work during a regular semester.
  1. If any request is submitted for offering a course at a rate of more than two hours of credit per four days of class sessions, prior approval of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs (or Provost designee) is required. Such approval will only be given upon clear evidence that the course is clearly equivalent to similar courses offered in the regular session. The decision of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.