Skip Navigation

APUS Named First Three-Time Recipient of Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award

Latest Award Is for Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator

Charles Town, W. Va., Nov. 13, 2013 — American Public University System (APUS) today announced that  it has received a Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) Effective Practice Award for its “Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator: An Adaptive Model for Calculating Contact Hours.” The project was selected through the Sloan-C peer review process and recognized at the annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning, making APUS the first three-time winner of the award.

The increasing number of students taking online courses has gained the attention of both governmental and educational organizations and institutions. This attention, in turn, has prompted these entities to re-examine and re-evaluate how learning is assessed and specifically how contact hours (seat time) are calculated for online programs. Responding to this industry question, APUS developed the Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator to calculate and determine the amount of online student contact hours as well as overall hours a student engages in each course, according to Dr. Karan Powell, APUS Executive Vice President and Provost.

“The Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator allows for the review of interaction and learning activity to be documented and provides a metric for evaluation and refinement of both deficiencies and excessive online student contact hours,” said Powell. “The Calculator provides faculty and administrators with guidelines for determining the expected time students contribute to their online coursework.  While we know “seat time” or “contact time” is not equivalent to student learning this Calculator provides an instrument for creating an optimal environment for online learning and student success.” 

The APUS submission was primarily authored by Dr. Melissa Layne, director of research methodology,   in collaboration with four-time Sloan-C honoree Dr. Phil Ice, vice president of research and development; Dr. Jennifer Stephens Helm, vice president of institutional research and assessment; and Dr. Powell.

Sloan-C, an association of institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, recognizes effective practices that advanced five pillars of quality in online education: access, learning effectiveness, faculty satisfaction, student satisfaction, and scale. Awards are given annually based on innovation, replicability, potential impact, supporting evidence of effectiveness, and scope.  APUS was previously recognized with the Effective Practice Award for “Using the Community of Inquiry Framework Survey for Multi-Level Institutional Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement” and “Semantic Mapping of Learning Assets.”

About American Public University System

American Public University System, winner of the Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and four-time recipient of the OLC's Effective Practice Award, offers more than 90 online degree programs through American Military University and American Public University. APUS's relevant curriculum, affordability and flexibility help more than 100,000 working adults worldwide pursue degrees in a diverse variety of subjects. For further information, visit

Contact Us for Media Inquiries: | Jill Kurtz, Director, Public Relations | 571-358-3153 (w) | 703-283-5813 (c)