- Cohort Structure: The adult and professional students are enrolled in a small group (typically 15 to 18 in size), which remain together as a cohort for the entire length of the program. During this time they complete all the course work required for their respective degree. The cohort provides internal support to students and a professional network.
- Time-shortened Format (1-night per week or online): The students are enrolled in only one course at a time, verses juggling many, and attend class just one night a week from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. or online. The day of the week is always the same throughout the program, i.e. if you program starts on a Monday, it will always meet on Mondays for the duration of the program.
- All Courses / Modules (5 - 8 Weeks Long): Each course or module is taken one at a time verses juggling multiple couses at one once. All courses are completed in five or eight weeks. Each weekly class session is four hours long. Three to four modules equals one semester.
- Class Time: Class time is devoted, largely, to the processing of information. The teacher functions as a facilitator in a learner-centered rather than a teacher-centered environment.
- Homework and Related Studies: On average, expect 3-4 hours of home work for every hour spent in class. Students are expected to spend 15 to 20 hours each week acquiring information from textbooks and work-related assignments.
Why does this format work?
Three factors make it possible for the program to function effectively as a time-shortened format: (a) the common goal orientation of the students; (b) the cohesiveness and continuity of the cohort structure, and (c) the participative, androgogical teaching methodology which assumes the students are self-directed, goal oriented, and interested in applied learning.
- Participative Methodology: The primary role of the instructor in the nontraditional programs is that of facilitator. The lecture approach is used only in a limited way.
- Applied Learning: Throughout the modular course work, students are required to integrate theory and academic content with knowledge from their work experiences. Evaluation of the students' progress is based not only on evidence of their grasp of content, but upon their reflections about the application of the content in their workplace.
- Applied Research Projects: Additionally each student is required to complete a work-related project which requires:
- The definition of a researchable topic
- Literature search related to the topic
- Identification of appropriate research and analytical methodology
- Completion of data collection and an evaluation of the data
- Analysis of outcomes, usually involving statistical measurement
- Statement of conclusions