Faculty Senate

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Method of Instruction

The Curricular Affairs Committee* approved the following list of definitions for methods of instruction for the various courses at the University of Rhode Island.

Definitions for Methods of Instruction

Lecture: A course in which the primary method is presentation and students are expected to participate in a variety of ways, such as small-group discussions, questions and answers, writing-exercises, etc.

Laboratory: In-class applied course work, generally involving experimentation or observation, typically using special equipment (including computers and specialized software).

Recitation: Separate sections of a lecture course regularly scheduled for discussion.

Studio: In-class, supervised work with an emphasis on performance and creativity in which faculty instruct, assist, and critique.

Seminar: Course offered to a small group (usually no more than 20 students) where participants actively exchange ideas and findings based on readings or research.

Independent Study: One-on-one instruction in which the student enters into an agreement with the instructor that defines the focus of inquiry and nature of activities. Includes tutorials, directed readings, special projects.

Practicum: Structured experiences where the primary aim is to connect theory with practice. Includes clinics, internships, externships, student teaching, field experiences. May include regular class meetings.

Workshop: Similar to a seminar, with emphasis on applied rather than theoretical learning, but not offered for degree-program credit.

Online: A course that is delivered entirely online. (CAC policy includes possibility of a required organizational session, etc.)


Portfolio is not a Method of Instruction
but its definition is provided here for informational purposes.

Portfolio: Portfolio courses may be offered for 1-3 credits.

A one-credit portfolio course provides students with a structured opportunity to review, select, and revise examples of their work to place in a portfolio. Students’ reflections on their choices form an integral part of this process.

Two- and three-credit portfolio courses must include a significant and substantive amount of instruction, provide students with a structured opportunity to review, select, and revise examples of their work, and includes a new project in addition to drawing on students’ past work. “New project” is understood to include totally new work as well as substantial additional work on existing projects, e.g. elaborating and extending a research paper by examining and incorporating additional sources or replicating a study conducted earlier using a new sample.

*Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee’s Four Hundred and Fifty-First  Report (April 3, 2007),  Revision of definitions in the CAC’s Three Hundred and Seventh Report (October 13, 1993).

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