Studies take place in the form of contact study, practice (work experience) and independent study. As from 1st September 2009 the calculation unit used for determining the amount of studies is the European credit point (ECTS credit point), which equals 26 hours of work. The 26 hours include contact learning as well as independent study.
More specific requirements and conditions are determined by the member of teaching staff in the course programme, as well as by the proportion of contact learning in comparison to independent work.
Contact studies may be in the form of lectures, seminars, e-courses, practical courses or other forms of study stipulated in the course programme, where both student and a member of the teaching staff participate simultaneously. Hence the term “contact studies”, i.e. being in contact with the teacher.
As a rule, a member of the teaching staff provides theoretical knowledge; seminars and practical courses are aimed at teaching the practical application of the theoretical knowledge obtained during lectures and/or developing practical skills. As a rule, contact studies do not normally exceed 10 study hours per one European credit point (26 hours of study); in more practical subjects contact studies may account for up to 15 study hours. The rest of the time is often designated for independent work.
Practice (work experience)
Practice is applied work that takes place in a working environment under the direction of a supervisor. For example, during the teaching practice element of a teacher training course, students go to school and do real pedagogical work under the guidance of a supervisor.
Practice in the main subject is designed to put learned knowledge and skills into practice. The manner in which specialist practice takes place, as well as its content and organisation, is described in the practice guide of the relevant academic unit. Most curricula include an element of practical work; in the case of teacher training curricula, this is teaching practice.
A student’s independent study is done outside contact study lessons. This includes the independent acquisition and application of knowledge, problem solving, preparation of presentations, specialist reading, compiling written work (papers, essays, research work, etc), and other tasks. The proportion of independent work required varies in lectures, practical courses and seminars according to the tasks students have to fulfil. Instructions for independent study are given by the relevant member of the teaching staff in the course programme.
Most introductory and general subjects are taught in the form of period learning. The main objective of period learning is to condense the study of introductory and general subjects, which to date have been spread over longer periods of time. Instead of the former 2 lectures per week, these subjects will be delivered in a total of 4 weekly lectures once or twice a week, depending on the specifics of the course. Thus, students will have a smaller number of subjects at a time. The term ‘period learning’ is derived from the fact that these subjects will be taught during one period and not during the whole semester.