Instructor-led Hours

University accreditation agencies have a mandatory minimum amount of instructional time in which the students are led through content by their professor. This is in addition to homework time, where the student works alone or in groups without faculty guidance. The time is converted into a standard unit, called a Carnegie hour or Student Hour. A Carnegie hour is defined as 50 minutes. Courses that are condensed or are online still need to meet their minimum Carnegie hour/instructor-led hour requirements.

The following is a list of activities that can qualify as instructor-led hours:

Face-to-face Lecture

This is the most common instructor-led activity. The instructor and students meet on the same physical location, such as a classroom, and the instructor guides students through the content.

  • Pros: Both instructor and students are familiar with this format. Instructor gets immediate feedback from students while students gain immediate feedback from their instructor.
  • Cons: It requires a face-to-face meeting; both instructor and students need to commute to classroom. Condensed (11-week) classes do not have enough classroom hours to fulfill their required Carnegie hours for the amount of credits they give.
  • Best Practices:  Break up lectures every 10 minutes with active learning elements (e.g. think-pair-share). Use student response systems (i.e. clickers) to gauge understanding and get students engaged, answering questions, and participating.
Pre-recorded Lecture (version 1)

The instructor teaches in front of a computer and a web cam. In this format, instructor presents the course contents (e.g., PowerPoint presentation, software demonstration, and handwrite capturing) on the computer. Students can watch the content, see instructor’s face, and listen to his/her voice.

  • Pros: Students don’t need to physically show up in a classroom. They can learn the contents from their home or dorm. They can revisit the content as many times as they want.
  • Cons: There is no discussion or collaboration. The instructor does not get the feedback from his/her audience.
  • Best Practices: It is an efficient way of conveying a lot of information, or complicated ideas that the students might need to review multiple times. Also great for giving a step-by-step tutorial of a process that the student will follow along with on their own computer.
Pre-recorded Lecture (version 2)

Instructor teaches in front of a camera, with the help of other tools and equipment, such as a TV monitor or a projector. In this format, a more realistic classroom environment is created. The instructor can apply more movement and body language just like in the classroom.

  • Pros: More of a classroom feeling. Students can review the lecture.
  • Cons: Facilitator is needed to set up the scene. Expensive equipment and experienced videographer is needed during, and editing serviced might be needed afterward.
  • Best Practices: Record actual class lectures for future classes or for current students to review. You’ll often need two cameras, one to capture you and the other to capture any PowerPoints or board work.
Ready-made Pre-recorded Lecture

Instructor uses lectures made by others.  For example, the instructor can use the courses and lessons created by other people from or All the instructor needs to do is to share the video link with students.

  • Pros: No need to create video lectures. CLU faculty and students have free access to contents from
  • Cons: Less control on course contents. Difficult to find perfect lectures for your own class. You don’t own the content. Needs to be used sparingly.
  • Best Practices: This is a great option for learning a specific skill set. If you want your students to, for example, use excel for a final project, require that they watch how to videos first, then review/apply that content in class or have them practice it in their homework.  Outside videos should be used sparingly.
Virtual Classroom

Instructor and students log into a virtual classroom where they can see and listen to each other through webcams/headsets. In this format, the instructor can communicate with students synchronously, similar to what they do in the real classroom. The instructor enjoys a variety of assistive teaching tools, such as publishing slides, screen sharing, and interactive whiteboard. Blackboard Collaborate, our virtual classroom tool, is available for all CLU faculty, staff, and students.

  • Pros: Synchronous, instant communication between instructor and students. The meeting is recorded and can be watched later.
  • Cons: Participant must have a headset and fast internet to join the online session. All participants need to show up at the same time. The software and the format can be challenging to use well. Students might be shy about speaking up.
  • Best Practices: It is great for discussions and group work. Briefly review content you more thoroughly addressed in classroom lectures or pre-recorded lectures, then have students apply the concepts in groups working on a specific problems.
Discussion Board

The instructor posts a prompt and specific guidelines for the response, and the students asynchronously reply to that prompt, and each other. Discussion boards can be either instructor-led, or student initiated (more like homework), depending on how they are implemented. To be instructor-led, the faculty member and students need to be consistently active on the board, having an asynchronous discussion, where the faculty member guides the student to engage ever more deeply with the course content.

  • Pros: Easy to set up and use. Students and faculty can use at when and where it is convenient.
  • Cons: It can be hard to get students to be active enough on the board. If students only check it once or twice a week, no matter how much the instructor posts, it will be more like homework then instructor led.
  • Best Practices: Set specific dates throughout the week for the students’ initial post, their replies  to others’ posts, and their replies to your comments. Ask questions that are interesting and relevant to your students, and don’t have a “right” answer. They need to want to engage in discussion about it. Give them credit for every entry they post.