Helpful Guidelines for Proposing Courses with Differential Credit
When a unit considers offering a course for differential credit in a semester (e.g., 2 OR 4 hours), consider the following.
If there are two different topics, the course should be developed as two successive 8-week courses, rather than one 16-week course.
Creating two courses helps with the following issues:
- Two courses makes it clear which course material a student received, especially if it is possible that the student could decide to take both parts of the course.
- Two courses allow for separate transcription of the coursework, so it doesn’t appear that the student took the same course twice, but instead shows the two topics or levels of the topic.
- Listing the courses as 8-week offerings, if that is the case, allows the proper add/drop deadlines to be applied and reduces the paperwork for students that change their minds about registering for either section.
- It allows one course to be the prerequisite of the second course.
- It allows for efficient course scheduling in that room assignments can be adjusted to address the individual needs of the two sections, and it allows the University to know how many students should be in the room on any day, in case of an emergency.
In addition, when considering offering a course for differential credit:
- Make sure it is not a required course in any program of study. This could cause a student to be short of hours at graduation.
- Make sure the difference in the workload required is indicative of the appropriate course credit.
- Make it clear to students in the catalog entry or schedule notes and in the syllabus, what the expectations are for the different hours of credit, so that they can register for the appropriate number of hours.
Potential Scenarios and the Correct Course Type
Scenario: Two different facets of the same topic (e.g. import trade and export trade), over the semester
Correct course type: Should be developed as two separate 8-week courses, with unique titles
Scenario: First 8 weeks of the course are basics or theory, and second 8 weeks are more intense or more applied
Correct course type: Should be developed as two separate 8-week courses, with the first as a prerequisite for the second
Scenario: All students enrolled for 16 weeks, but some do more work
Correct course type: Should be a semester course with differential credit and repeatability as appropriate to the topic.
Scenario: Some students take first 8 weeks, and some take 16, but neither the topic nor the work required changes.
Correct course type: Should be developed as a semester course with two sections and no repeatability. The course needs to be approved as an 8-week or semester offering, and the sections need to be correctly set up in the schedule with the appropriate credit (e.g., 2 hrs credit for the 8 week section and 4 hrs credit for the 16 week section).
Scenario: Some students take first 8 weeks, and some take 16, and the topic advances, but students electing to take the first 8 weeks and not the second 8 weeks will not be allowed in a different term to take the second 8 weeks.
Correct course type: Should be developed as a semester course with two sections and no repeatability. The course needs to be approved as an 8-week or semester offering, and the sections need to be correctly set up in the schedule.
Units may contact the Office of the Registrar for assistance with course set-up in Banner.