Hillsborough Community College employs sound and acceptable practices for determining the amount and level of credit awarded for courses, regardless of format or mode of delivery. The HCC Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) reviews and recommends direction on all courses that are developed or revised at the College, as described on page 2 of the AAC Handbook.
During the technical review process, which precedes submission of courses to the AAC, the Director of Management Information Systems researches the Florida Statewide Course Number System (SCNS) to ensure that the courses are appropriately aligned with the State system in the amount and level of credit awarded. The SCNS, established in 1960, provides a database of all Florida postsecondary courses at public technical centers, community colleges, universities, and participating private institutions. To populate the system, Faculty Advisory Committees remain active to provide guidance and direction to the SCNS. HCC faculty serve on several SCNS Faculty Advisory Committees; for example, the Chair of the HCC Preparatory Curriculum Cluster serves on the SCNS Reading Advisory Committee, and three HCC faculty serve on a statewide English for Academic Purposes (EAP) committee.
The SCNS Handbook provides detail on the development of the system and its current operation. Information on the development of the SCNS is provided on pages one through six of the SCNS Handbook.
In the State of Florida, “college credit is the type of credit assigned to courses or course equivalent learning that is part of an organized and specified program leading to a graduate, baccalaureate, or associate degree. One (1) college credit is based on the learning expected from the equivalent of fifteen (15) fifty-minute periods of classroom instruction” (Florida Administrative Rule 6A-10.033). Under SCNS guidelines, each participating institution controls the title, credit, and content of its own courses. At HCC, credit is assigned based on the State of Florida Administrative Rules, the investigation of the SCNS database to determine how much credit hours per specified course that other Florida postsecondary institutions are awarding, and on internal factors such as program review. For example, curriculum in the American Sign Language program was modified recently to provide students with more time in skill-building courses. REA 2505 was deleted from the program, and the credits were redistributed throughout other program courses. This program change was requested to align the courses with the requirements for transfer into four-year colleges and universities. For example, SPA 1614 American Sign Language III was changed from a one-credit hour course to a three credit hour course, which is anticipated to provide more skill-building time for the students and prepare them for transfer more effectively .
Alternative modes, such as distance learning courses, are designed to provide equivalent educational experiences for students taking advantage of these courses, and student outcomes are regularly compared between distance learning and traditional courses (Distance Learning Reports). Regardless of the mode of delivery, the level of credit remains constant.