What is ECTS?
The European Credit Transfer System, another field of activity supported as part of the Socrates/Erasmus program, is an accreditation system and its main objective is to ensure the fair and mutual recognition, as much as possible, of the results of exchange students' studies abroad, by the relevant education institutions. The long-term goal of this system is to achieve European-wide standardization in terms of course credits and grading, and thus strengthen the education dimension of European Integration. Thus, the European Credit Transfer System is described as a ‘common language’ spoken throughout Europe in the field of higher education.
ECTS was developed by the EU toward the end of the 1980s to facilitate student movements and ensure the recognition of studies abroad by home institutions.
* ECTS was first and established in 1988 under the name ERASMUS program.
* Upon the successful completion of the 6-year pilot program, ECTS was included in ERASMUS (1995-1999).
* In early 1998, the European Credit Transfer System Helpline Network was created.
* Institutions that apply the system are visited by two international ECTS experts to monitor the implementation of the ECTS on the ground.
* These experts identify good practices, conduct assessments, make various recommendations, and ensure the stable development of the system in all EU institutions.
* The ECTS serves a critical function given the 200.000 students exchanged annually as part of the Socrates program.
WHAT ARE ECTS CREDITS?
ECTS credits are course units that express the entire workload (lectures, practical work, seminars, individual work, exams, homework, etc.) that a student has to undertake to successfully complete a course.
* ECTS is a student-centered system based on the student workload required to reach the objectives of a program. Learning outcomes and Competences should be specified when explaining the objectives of a program.
Learning Outcomes(LO)= Set of skills: This is a list that describes what the student will know, understand, and be able to do after completing the learning process or in the long-term.
Student Workload: This is the workload assigned considering the time required to complete all planned learning activities. The workload consist of the total amount of time required for attendance (lecture), laboratory, practice hours, seminars, independent or special work, project preparation, and exams.
* In the ECTS, one academic year (two semesters) is equivalent to 60 credits, and one semester is equivalent to 30 credits.
* Institutions that have 3 terms (trimesters) in an academic year award 20 ECTS credits per trimester.
* At the end of four years of education, student become eligible for graduation by earning a total of 240 ECTS credits.
* Assigning 60 ECTS credits for one year of education is based on the idea that 1 ECTS credit equals 25 to 30 hours of study (assuming students spend 8 hours a day studying). This corresponds to an annual workload of 1500 to 1800 hours (37.5 to 45 weeks a year).
* The ideal method of calculation is to measure the total amount of time students spend on each course. Thus, given that the total workload students have to undertake for a semester of courses corresponds to 30 ECTS credits, ECTS credits for individual courses are assigned on the basis of their relative share in the total workload. It is very important to ensure student participation via surveys in calculating the total workload for courses.
* In short, ECTS credits quantify the amount of work required by the relevant course, relative to the total workload required to successfully complete an academic year at an institution of higher education.
ASSIGNING ECTS CREDITS TO INDIVIDUAL COURSES
The total number of credits for all courses to be taken in an academic year is 60.
* The proper method for assigning ECTS credits: Learning outcomes for each course should be set in a realistic manner by estimating the workload of an average student.
* ECTS credits should not be assigned simply on the basis of class hours. There is no linear relationship between class hours and credits. A one-hour course may require 3 hours of independent work, whereas a 3-hour seminar may require a preparation period of one week.
* ECTS credits should not be assigned on the basis of status or prestige. Prestige of the faculty member or the status of the course cannot be used as an input in assigning credits.
* It would be appropriate to assign ECTS credits first to the common courses taught throughout the university (such as Foreign Language and History of the Turkish Republic), followed by common courses taught throughout the faculty (such as Math), finally followed by courses offered only in individual departments.