Calculating Minutes Under ABA Standards for an Online Asynchronous Course

The ABA, in Standard 306, requires the following in order to give credit for distance learning:

(1) an “opportunity for regular and substantive interaction between faculty member and student and among students”;

(2) “regular monitoring of student effort by the faculty member and opportunity for communication about that effort”; and

(3) learning outcomes consistent with Standard 302.

All iLaw asynchronous classes include material presented in a online classroom; a substantial amount of time spent in Discussion Boards, where there is an expectation that faculty members will be involved and provide feedback to students and that students will communicate with each other; and assignments, with an expectation that faculty members will provide feedback to students about work. The courses selected by iLaw have learning objectives consistent with Standard 302.

A credit hour under Standard 310 is not less than one hour (50 minutes as explained in Interpretation 310-1) x 15 weeks of “classroom or direct faculty instruction” AND “two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks” or the equivalent amount of work. Time to take the exam is counted as “classroom or direct faculty instruction.” “The equivalent amount of work” (“as represented in the definition of credit hour”) applies to distance education classes.

iLaw calculates the minutes involved in distance learning activities by the nature of those activities. Material presented in the online classroom, though recorded, is no different than what can take place in the traditional classroom so they are counted in the same fashion as minutes in a traditional classroom. What occurs on a Discussion Board is described in the Managing Director’s Guidance Memo as an out-of-class activity. Therefore, the time devoted to the Discussion Board is divided in half to count toward credit.   iLaw classes involve Discussion Boards where we expect students to be involved at least one hour for each question. This includes the student reading the question, other students’ responses, and the faculty member’s responses; the student thinking about an answer or a response; and the student typing an original response and responding to other students.  To assure this amount of time, professors require students to make a particular number of responses or to have responses of a particular length.

Some of the professors also include a video each week that is recorded after the professor completes the evaluation of class assignments and/or what is said on the Discussion Board. When these recordings are used, iLaw counts them as “classroom or direct faculty instruction.”

Students also will be required to complete assignments. The time preparing these assignments is counted as out-of-class work, and the number of minutes is divided in half in reaching the number of appropriate minutes.

Additionally, the standard requires “two hours of out-of-class student work per week for fifteen weeks” for each credit. In iLaw classes this “additional” out-of-class work is covered in readings and study time. The standard requires at least 30 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour. iLaw estimates that it takes about five minutes for students to read one page of a law school textbook and that students read through the material at least twice during the term. iLaw suggests 10 minutes be the estimate for each page in the readings. Therefore, readings of 180 pages equates to 30 hours. Additionally, students are studying to prepare for exams. iLaw estimates (through student surveys) that students spend on average twenty hours studying for a three-credit course.

Here are examples of these interpretations:

Direct Instruction

ABA requires 750 minutes of direct instruction or its equivalent. For a three-credit course this is: 750 x 3 = 2250

Exam of 3 hours = 3 x 60 =                             180

Recorded lecture of 900 minutes =                900

(28 discussion questions of 60 minutes)/2 = 840

(14 assignments of 60 minutes)/2=                420

Total=                                                              2340 minutes

Out-of-class Student Work

ABA requires 30 hours of out-of-class student work per credit. For a three-credit course this is 30 x 3 = 90 x 60 = 5400 minutes

Study in course and for exam 20 x 60 =         1200

420 pages of reading x 10 minutes =             4200

Total =                                                             5400 minutes

How it Works

iLaw delivers online law school courses to our partner schools.

  • We contract with the professors and provide all technical support. You pay no expenses.
  • You decide which of the courses to offer. Students enroll using your standard procedure in courses already approved in your catalog.
  • School’s award their academic credit. These classes are the school’s courses.
  • Students log into courses using their computers via your school’s website.
  • We provide the platform and tech support, but will be invisible to your students.
  • School administrators can monitor the classes live or through archived video.
  • Your academic policies govern. The professor takes roll, grades exams, and delivers the grades consistent with your school’s standards.
  • Software records attendance; that information is given to each school about the students.

Teaching Excellence

Our goal is academic excellence, which we deliver by hiring recognized, award-winning scholars.

  • Summer teachers have diverse backgrounds, varied substantive expertise and are fully trained in online pedagogy.
  • Platform orientation is provided to students and any necessary technical support during the semester.
  • School administrators may monitor every class—either live or as recorded, and conduct their own student evaluations.

Faculty-Student Interaction

  • Students interact with Faculty through message boards, chat rooms, online faculty office hours and email.
  • Synchronous courses allow faculty-student interaction comparable to a traditional classroom.
  • Engaged-Asynchronous courses allow faculty-student interaction as well as flexible schedules.

iLaw is not an ABA accredited entity. In courses offering academic credit, the partner law school may use its accreditation to award course credit.