2019-2020 Catalog

Instructional Methods and Course Types


The courses at Western use a variety of instructional methods that are listed below. More than one method may be used in a course. The individual course syllabi will indicate the type of instructional methods the course predominantly uses.

Discussion/Dialogue Based Learning

LECTURE: A course in which the primary method of instruction is verbal and where a lecture/discussion/group interaction format is utilized.  (Minimum 750 minutes per credit hour.)

SEMINAR: A seminar is a small group of students studying under an instructor using a variety of instructional and learning methods ranging from lecture to discussion of student research. Students may also attend a seminar given by an expert in the field followed by discussion and interaction.

(Minimum 750 minutes per credit hour.)

PROBLEM BASED LEARNING: A course in which the primary method of learning is interactive group work using realistic case studies. Faculty members serve as facilitators of learning. Through Problem Based Learning, students develop skills to become life-long learners, learn to work in a group, and develop the ability to self-evaluate.

“Hands On” or “Learn by Doing” Learning

LABORATORY or STUDIO: A course in which the primary method of instruction is application oriented “learning by doing.” The discussion/group interaction format may also be utilized. (Minimum 1500 minutes per credit hour.)

OPEN ENTRY: A course in which the primary method of instruction is application-oriented (flex) "learning by doing" or self-paced, mastery-learning (open entry/open exit) courses where students work with instructor supervision in the accomplishment of instructor-established objectives and sequenced learning activities. Competency based

SHORT COURSE: Traditional courses at Western last 16 weeks.  Accelerated, or short courses, can be completed in as little as 1 week.  The difference between a traditional course and an accelerated course is the number of hours students spend in class each week.  For example, a one credit hour course offered in a traditional format will meet for one hour each week.  If the same course is offered as a week course, the class will meet for 15 hours that week.  Accelerated courses may be completed by students in a timelier manner.  However, the weekly expectations for classwork and homework are significantly greater.  Students need to consider the time required when deciding which type of class best suits their needs.


“Hands On” Out-of-the-Classroom Learning

INTERNSHIP: This method of instruction results in the placement of the student in a major-specific paid or unpaid work position. The supervising instructor must submit a complete course outline to the Registrar that covers all of the guidelines established in the Western catalog for this type of course. A position must be available and agreed upon between the student and the instructor of record before the student registers for the course.  (Minimum 3750 minutes per credit hour.)

CLINICAL or PRACTICUM: A course in which supervised students apply previously studied theory in the field. (Minimum 2250 minutes per credit hour.)

FIELD SCHOOL or FIELD STUDY: A field school/study is a classroom without walls where lectures are ongoing and the material learned is applied directly to the appropriate environment. (Minimum 1500 minutes per credit hour.)

Distance Learning Delivery Methods

INTERNET: An Internet course is a course that provides instruction through a computer interface. Instruction, discussion, assessment and feedback is conducted electronically. Class assessment is based on attainment of course outcomes The course may be open-entry/open-exit or may follow a prescribed semester schedule for assignments, papers, and exams.

COMPRESSED VIDEO: These courses are live courses delivered via compressed video. Students sit in a class with a television and camera. The student can see, speak, and interact with the instructor and other students at other compressed video sites. Classes meet on a regular schedule and are conducted similar to a traditional classroom setting. Most compressed video courses have required online components. Note: Students in compressed video classes may be videotaped.

PARTIAL INTERNET: A partial internet course is any course that combines regularly scheduled face-to-face class time with online instruction using a course management system, such that the total seat time (face-to-face class time) is reduced and online discussion, assignments, and/or exams are part of the course.

Special or One-on-One Learning

TOPICS: These courses are special topics courses. This category should be used for testing a class to determine if the demand is there and whether the format is appropriate before making it a permanent course offering within a Western program. They may be a lecture, laboratory, or a combination lecture/lab.

WORKSHOP:  A brief, intensive educational program for a group of people that focuses on techniques and skills in a particular field. Workshop is a lab-type course. Only 6 hours of Workshop credit may be count toward graduation. The Workshop category should be used for areas where the topics vary and the course is not offered on a regular basis. A completed course syllabus, will be approved by the division chair and submitted to the Registrar before the class may be taught.  (Minimum 1500 minutes per credit hour.)

DIRECTED STUDY: This individualized method of instruction involves the student working on his/her own to carry out objectives established by the instructor in an area where there is a specific need and no Western course offered to address the student’s requirements. Before a directed study can be started, the instructor must develop a complete course syllabus, have it approved by the division chair, and submit it to the Registrar. Students pay a per credit fee in addition to tuition. Competency based.

APPLIED MUSIC LESSON: One private half-hour or hour lesson per week in a specified music area with a required minimum preparation time. Each lesson is one-on-one instruction with a faculty member and includes working with an accompanist. (Minimum 375 minutes per credit hour.)