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Realize the Time Commitment

5 February, 2015 - 11:20

College computer courses often are listed in the catalog of courses with both lecture and lab hours. But unlike the natural and biological sciences (chemistry, physics and biology) that must meet in a specific lab room designed for those courses, students can usually complete their lab portions at a variety of locations (the college's computer lab, home, work, public library, friend's house, etc.).

The normal rule of thumb is 1 to 1.5 hours out of class studying for every hour in class and for computer courses this normally means both the lecture and lab hours. Students with learning disabilities or those whose primary language is not English will want to plan for more study time and should use a larger ratio. Thus, you should calculate the weekly hours of commitment needed for a course depending on your circumstances. Example:

If a student is taking a 4 credit hour computer course that the college catalog says contains a combination of 6 hours (adding your lecture and lab hours) during a regular 16 week semester; the weekly classroom and study time for that course would be 12 to 15 hours a week.

But many students take courses at a faster pace by either taking a course between semesters in a very concentrated mode, starting a course after the regular start of a semester or during the summer. To calculate the weekly study time needed you will need to calculate the total regular semester instructional time and divide by the number of weeks in the faster pace delivery. Example:

Our 4 credit hour course is to be taken during a summer term that has 9 weeks of instruction time. The total regular semester time would be 15 times the normal semester commitment (180 to 225 hours). Dividing it by 9 would mean 20 to 25 hours per week.