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The Semester Plan
College credit is offered on a semester basis. Courses offered in the summer session meet more frequently and for a longer period of time at each meeting. Enrollment is always for a semester or a summer session except in the case of a special workshop.
In general, a course for one semester hour of credit meets for a 50-minute period once a week for the semester. For each class session, the student is expected to spend at least two hours in preparation. In studio, laboratory, or activity courses, at least two hours of attendance are required weekly for one semester hour of credit. In the case of seminars or independent study courses, less class attendance may be required and a proportionately larger amount of time spent in preparation. For regularly enrolled students, the usual class load is 15 to 16 semester hours per semester.
Levels of Courses
It is recommended that students take courses at the level of their class standing (freshman 100-level, sophomore 200-level, junior 300-level, senior 400-level) provided that specific prerequisites have been met. Taking a course two levels or move above or below the level of class standing is not permitting except with the approval of the instructor. All courses are further classified as either lower-division, upper-division, or graduate-level. The former are courses numbered 100 to 299; upper-division courses are those numbered 300 to 499; and courses numbered 500 to 699 are graduate-level. A minimum of 40 semester hours must be completed in upper-division, at least 12 of which must be in the student's major. If a student chooses a minor, six upper-division credits must be completed in the minor.
Rocky Freshman Experience (RFE)
The concept of the Rocky Freshman Experience (RFE) grew from research compiled by Rocky Mountain College professors Dr. Ron Cochran and Dr. Jay Cassel, who concluded that Rocky Mountain College students who associated with small groups enjoyed more academic and social success during their first year of college than those who did not. These findings suggested that small learning communities would benefit incoming freshmen. As a result, the RFE was established and is required of all new freshmen. Incoming freshmen choose from a variety of RFE groups ranging from six to eight semester hours and typically limited to around 20 students per RFE group. The discipline-specific courses from which students may choose often fulfill a general education requirement.
Faculty teaching the courses within each RFE group develop their classes together and attend each other's courses. Students meet with their cohorts for both classes, which are frequently scheduled back-to-back, allowing flexibility for shared activities.
The primary RFE goals are to challenge students to think across disciplines, to use the liberal arts as a catalyst for improving writing, to create a sense of academic community, to engage in classroom activities that encourage collaboration in small groups, and to be exposed to campus policies and resources. In addition to the RFE, freshmen are required to attend an orientation seminar called Campus Compass that is designed to assist new students in adjusting to college. These seminars are taught be a variety of staff members, thereby providing freshmen access to student service personnel and exposure to College policies and resources.
All regular course offerings are listed in this catalog. Courses cross-listed at a lower-division and upper-division level may be taken only once for credit unless otherwise noted.
The course schedule is available on CampusPortal and in the Office of Student Records. Courses for which there is small demand are typically offered alternate years or on demand. A course designated as on demand will be offered when there is a sufficient number of students requesting the course, usually five or more, and if suitable arrangements can be made. Students should plan their schedules carefully with their advisors to take required courses when they are offered. The course schedule is subject to change.
Regular courses may also be offered as online courses during any term. They are designated on the course schedule with the section listed as ONL. Students follow the same procedure to register for an online course as they do for a regular course, although they incur an additional fee per credit. In order to begin an online course, students must sign into Moodle, the course management system. In order to login, they must have an enrollment key, which is provided by the professor. Professors will contact students on their official roster during the first days of class through the RMC email system with instructions on how to begin using Moodle and with the course requirements. If a student does not receive an email from his/her professor, then the student must contact the professor to request information on the course. Online course grades are reported through CampusPortal along with all other regular course grades.
Guidelines: Special courses use the following workload standards for a credit: 45 hours of student time for each semester hour or completion of certain prescribed amounts of work or readings as determined at the beginnings of the course.
The faculty member in charge is responsible for evaluating the student through oral or written tests, through the presentation of a paper or completed project, or by any other sound means of evaluation.
All special courses are to be taken seriously as academic courses based on advanced planning. They are to be completed by the end of the semester or term when they are started, just as regular classes. Incomplete grades will be given only under unusual circumstances and with the instructor's consent. See "grades" under "academic policies" in the "academics" section of the catalog.
Note: Under special circumstances a student may take a regular course by arrangement with a member of the faculty if the student is legitimately unable to attend the regular class sessions and has the instructor's approval. In this case the student should enroll in the course under its regular number, not under directed reading or any other special course number. The guidelines for special courses, however, must be followed when regular courses are taken by arrangement.
Special Topics 180, 280, 380, 480, 580, 680
Faculty members may arrange, with the approval of the academic vice president, to offer under a special topics number courses not regularly listed in the catalog.
Independent Study 299
Offered to freshmen or sophomores only by initiation of a faculty member and approval of the academic vice president. Its purpose is to allow work outside of the regularly offered course schedule in exceptional circumstances.
Field Practicum 291, 391
All programs may offer a field practicum for one to three semester hours, with the possibility of being repeated up to a total of 12 semester hours. There must be a faculty evaluation of the student's performance, with a statement of the evaluation to be kept with the student's records. Practicum courses are graded on a pass/no pass basis.
Directed Reading 399
Directed reading courses are authorized for each program, to be offered at the discretion of the instructor and subject to the approval of the academic vice president. Each professor offering directed reading is responsible for providing a reading list or series of study questions or a syllabus to the student, so the course is indeed directed reading, not just reading. This course may be taken for one to three semester hours.
An internship offers a learning experience in a workplace setting for juniors and seniors in any major. To be eligible for an internship, a student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 and a major GPA of at least 2.25. All internship credits required by a major may be completed for a letter grade; additional internship credits up to a total of 12 may be completed on a pass/fail basis and applied toward a degree. Internships should be related to the student's major or minor area of study and are arranged by a faculty member, the student, and an employer with assistance from the career services office. In majors that do not require an internship, a maximum of three credits of internship may be completed for a letter grade; additional internship credits up to a total of 12 may be completed on a pass/fail basis and applied toward a degree. A completed internship learning contract is required prior to registration. Contracts and more information about internship requirements are available from the career services office.
Seminar 490, 590, 690
Many academic programs offer a seminar as a capstone course carrying two to three semester hours of upper-division credit. Admission is restricted to juniors and seniors or master's program students.
Independent Study 499, 599, 699
The purpose of Independent Study 499 is to allow a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with a faculty member who will supervise the study, subject to approval of the academic vice president. In order to qualify for such study, a student must 1) major or minor in the program, 2) be a junior, senior, or master's program student, and 3) carry a GPA of at least 3.00. Each independent study is one to three semester hours.