VCCS Master Course File

This page will discuss the VCCS Master Course File. If you want to know that information, make sure you are going to read this entire article. Of course, this is very important for those who are students at VCCS.

VCCS Master Course File

Need to know that the Master Course File is maintained by the Academic and Workforce Programs Unit of the Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS).

The Master Course File must include the below information for each course approved for the Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS):

    • Course prefix and number
    • Course title
    • Course credits
    • Course prerequisites and corequisites
    • Course description
    • Course lecture, laboratory, and total contact hours per week
    • Classification of course as a Passport Transfer course or UCGS Transfer course (if applicable).

The Colleges must use the course information including prefix, number, title, credits, prerequisites and corequisite, description, and number of hours as listed in the Master Course File.  If appropriate and approved by the VCCS, the courses can be cross listed in two or more prefixes.  The course titles must indicate a clear relationship to the prefix or discipline. The course titles do not be duplicated except in sequenced courses.  Remember that abbreviations which are not universally understood, references to specific software packages, and references to licensure must be avoided as part of the Master Course File.

The course descriptions must be written in all systems. Also, the course descriptions must contain minimum standards for the content taught in the course.  The colleges are able to complete a course description by adding the final sentence to a course description for publication in the catalog of colleges and related materials to clarify the content or certifications for which the students are prepared. When this option is did, the additional sentence need to align with the Master Course File course description and also must be applied to all course sections at the college. The colleges will be able to set additional prerequisites.

VCCS Master Course File

Course Numbering System

The Academic and Workforce Programs Unit of the Virginia’s Community Colleges maintain the Course numbering system.

The below system must be used:

    • Developmental courses (1-9) – Credits obtained in these courses are not applicable toward associate degree programs. But, after approval by the Chief Academic Officer, several developmental courses can give credit appropriate for diploma or certificate programs.
    • Basic non-degree courses for diplomas and certificate programs (10-99) – Credits obtained in these courses are applicable toward diploma and certificate programs, however, will not be applicable toward an associate degree.  Also, ESL courses can be numbered 10-99.
    • This is fresh-level courses that applicable toward associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs (100-199)
    • These are Sophomore-level courses that are applicable toward associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs (200-299).

Course Hours

The teaching and application of theoretical concepts in the lectures, discussions, seminars, and other similar activities are identified as Lecture. And the application of principles via practical training in clinical training, laboratories, supervised work experiences and other similar classes is identified as Laboratory.

The number of the lecture hours in class each week including lecture, discussion, seminar, and other similar activities and the number of laboratory, coordinated internship, supervised study, and other similar activities are indicated for each course in the course description.  The number of lecture and laboratory hours needed each week are called contact hours.

Distance learning courses need to include the same content and give the same student outcomes like the same courses taught in the classroom. Although the contact hours for the courses do not refer to seat time, you have to know that the contact hours are going to indicate the amount of the course time, specially for lecture and laboratory.

Course Credits

The credit for each course has to be indicated after the title in the course description.  Remember that one credit is equivalent to one collegiate semester-hour credit. Each semester hour of credit that is given for a course is based on the academic hour. It is 50 minutes of formalized. Besides this instructional time, appropriate evaluation will be needed. If this evaluation is a last examination, a minimum of 50 minutes of evaluation time must be scheduled for each course. Credits can be assigned to the activities as below:

    • Lecture
      One hour of lecture per week (usually for 15 weeks), plus the examination period, equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
    • Laboratory
      Two up to five academic hours. It depends on the laboratory, discipline, clinical training, coordinated internship, supervised work experience, or other similar activities per week, usually for 15 weeks, plus the evaluation or examination period, equals one collegiate semester-hour credit.
    • Asynchronous Distance Learning Courses
      In the case of asynchronous distance learning course offerings that use a mix of traditional contact hours and learning activities with the students and faculty separated by time and place, the colleges have to demonstrate via faculty peer review. If the only section of the course being taught in the Virginia’s Community Colleges is an asynchronous, faculty peer review is going to be employed to confirm that content and competency coverage and the student outcomes are appropriate for the course credits awarded.
    • General Usage Courses
      Variable academic hours from one up to five credits for general usage courses.
    • Variable Credits
      A college can request that a course vary from the existing credit value. Existing variable credit ranges cannot be extended.  Remember that Credit variability will not be approved for purposes of removing laboratory hours or of making laboratory hours optional.

General Usage Courses

General usage courses apply to lots of curricula and to all disciplines.  The college catalog must include course information as listed in the Master Course File. More detailed credits, titles, and course descriptions are able to be substituted in published class schedules to clarify the content covered in a given semester. The General usage courses will be able to be repeated for credit. Exceptions to the credit limit can be granted by the Chief Academic Officer.

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