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Professors choose to present course content and evaluate student performance in a variety of ways depending on the preferred style of the instructor, the level of the students, the type of material to be presented, the scheduling of the class, and even the location of the class.
Common class formats include:
- Lecture: traditional format in which the instructor stands in the front of a classroom or lecture hall, and the students sit facing the instructor. This type of class typically meets at the same time and location each meeting. The style is common for larger and introductory classes.
- Seminar: these classes tend to be smaller with the students and instructor seated around a large table. This type of format encourages student participation; in fact, discussion and debate is expected. This style is more typical in upper-level classes. Though this type of class also meets at regular times and locations, class members may arrange alternate meetings for special presentations or events.
- Laboratory: these classes are typically offered in two parts: a standard lecture and a separate laboratory class. Often there will be one large lecture class followed by several smaller sections for the lab work. When registering, students must sign up for the lecture and lab separately. These classes are most often worth four credit hours as opposed to the standard three credit hours for a typical lecture or seminar class.
- Online: the University offers a limited number of online classes, and most of them are available during the summer. These classes require a computer with internet access and a considerable amount of self discipline on the part of the student. Some online classes require students to log on at set times or for a set amount of time per week; other online classes allow students to log on and complete the work on a more flexible schedule. Some students like the flexibility and convenience of online classes; others miss the face-to-face interaction of the classroom and the structure provided by regular meetings.
- Hybrid: the University also offers a few classes that combine the structure of the classroom setting with the flexibility of an online component. A hybrid class may meet once at the start of the term, once midway through the term, and then at the end of it for presentations. Throughout the term, on a regular basis, students will log in to a course management site for class discussions, interaction with the instructor, group projects, etc.
- Note: Many classes will be a combination of lecture and seminar-style discussion.
The University offers courses on a variety of schedules to meet the needs of our different student populations. In general, students can take classes at any time that is convenient for them. The one exception is Adult Express; those classes are open only to adult part-time students.
- Day classes typically meet two or three times per week. Twice weekly, three-credit classes usually meet either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday for 70 minutes each class, usually with a break. Three-credit classes that meet three times per week typically meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 40 minutes per class, usually without a break. The earliest class begins at 8:30 a.m.
- Evening classes include any class that begins at 4:20 p.m. or later. Evening classes typically meet once a week for two hours and twenty minutes with a break, or twice a week for 75–80 minutes with a break. Evening classes are denoted in the printed schedule of classes with a half moon. The latest start time for an evening class is usually 7:30 p.m.
- Adult Express courses are taught in accelerated 7-week terms in-person or online. By taking 7-week courses, a student can complete 6 credits a semester while still taking only one course at a time. The pace is rigorous, but many students prefer this format. Adult Express courses are open only to part-time students.
- Saturday courses meet once a week for seven weeks. Currently, the selection of courses offered on Saturdays is geared towards students in the Paralegal Studies program. Saturday courses are open only to part-time students.
- Winterterm courses are offered in various accelerated formats, usually after the holidays but before the spring semester begins. Winterterm courses may run all morning or all afternoon for two weeks, or three hours in the evening for three weeks or all day for one week. Learn more about winterterm offerings at www.hartford.edu/winterterm.
- Summerterm classes are offered during days and evenings, in a variety of formats. The first summer term begins right after the end of spring term, and the second summer term usually starts in early July. Students can choose to attend both summer sessions if they wish. A special summerterm schedule of classes is published in late spring. Learn more about summerterm offerings at www.hartford.edu/summerterm.
- Mayterm classes allow students to study at top speed over a shorter time frame. Mayterm offers a variety of morning, afternoon, and evening classes during a three-week period beginning in mid-May and running through early June.
- Special schedules: periodically, classes will be offered on unusual schedules such as Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for several weekends. These courses are typically listed among the regular course offerings in the schedule of classes.
The course instructor will evaluate your performance in the class throughout the semester and will assign you a final grade for the course. However, at the end of each course, you will be asked to complete a course evaluation that provides valuable feedback to the department about your impression of the course, the content, and the instruction. Instructors do not see these evaluations until after the grades have been filed. They provide important information to the department and the instructor about what worked and what could be improved. Please take the time to complete the course evaluations thoughtfully.
At the start of each course, usually in the first class meeting, your instructor will distribute a course syllabus. The syllabus is a very important document that outlines the instructor's expectations for the class and students. The following information is typically included in a syllabus:
- Name of the course
- Term or semester
- Instructor name
- Instructor contact information, including phone and e-mail
- Office hours and location
- Course description
- Titles of books and other required materials (e.g. a specific calculator)
- Schedule of class meetings with required readings and assignments
- Exam dates and/or paper deadlines
- Grading policies
- Classroom expectations: behavior, attendance, academic honesty, etc.