The 4x4 Curriculum
In the fall of 2011, Virginia Wesleyan implemented a new initiative designed to make every course more engaging and every program more focused on helping students become successful, independent learners. The standard course was expanded from three semester hours to four, challenging students in each course to explore its content more deeply and offering them more engaging learning activities. Instead of taking five 3-hour courses in a semester, students typically average four 4-hour courses. Some courses meet four hours per week and cover additional material, thereby yielding a fourth semester hour. Many other courses, however, meet only three hours a week in the classroom but are enhanced with out-of-class experiences and projects that justify a fourth credit. These experiences may include field trips, volunteer work, independent and collaborative research projects, and/or opportunities to work with advanced technological tools. In other words, students have expanded opportunities to learn by doing, to connect theory to practice, and to link their classrooms to the world.