Course Attribute for Practical Experience

Details the course attribute for practical experience. This attribute is an Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) administrative attribute, which is not public facing. It is used for reporting purposes.

The purpose of this document is to explain the creation and implementation of the Practical Experience Course Attribute. The intended audience is Academic Planning and Institutional Research. The Practical Experience (PRAC) administrative course attribute allows for comprehensive labeling of courses that represent for-credit activity in a workplace including practica and clinical placements. This attribute is not public facing and is used exclusively for reporting needs, including the Wisconsin Experience report, the legislated Act 32 accountability reporting, and mandated national State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) reporting, all of which require information about a similar type of course.

Course Attribute Details

Course Attribute (4 characters): PRAC

Description (30 char): Practical experience

Attribute Value (10 char): OPTIONAL

Description (30 char): Practical work

Definition: Any course where a student earns credit by completing practical work. This generally includes (but is not limited to) internships, practicums, clinicals, and other placements within a work environment. This is a general attribute assigned to any course that could include a practicum-like element. This will not be added to courses that meet a specific defined program requirement, which would be flagged with the REQUIRED value. 

Attribute Value (10 char): REQUIRED

Description (30 char): Req Curricular Placement

Definition: Any course that meets the “OPTIONAL” criteria and requires an additional flag for reporting purposes and is part of a defined required element within the curriculum. In part, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) requires UW-Madison to identify non-duplicated headcounts “where a student completes a defined program requirement, in which the student opts to participate at a place outside of the state of Wisconsin but within the boundaries of the United States of America, and which state or province the placement took place.” This value will be used in a limited fashion to indicate only courses that are specifically required, excluding courses that could be used to fulfill a requirement (covered under OPTIONAL). Any course assigned the REQUIRED value, is required in one or more programs.

Implementation Identification

The identification of courses to assign the PRAC attribute was a multiple step process:

  1. Courses utilizing the existing for-credit workplace experiences course attribute (attribute: WORK; value: EXPR) provided a foundational selection of courses that already met the qualifying description for the PRAC attribute. All courses with the WORK attribute were included in the initial PRAC list.
  2.  Identified academic programs (plans or subplans), which required an element of hands-on specialized training outside the classroom for completion of the program. This could include (but is not limited to) clinicals, internships, externships, practicum, rotations, outpatient or clerkship appointments, apprenticeships and preceptorships. If unclear, APIR consulted with the departments to determine whether a specific course was a required placement.
  3. Identified courses that would be excluded (independent study courses; There is no description on what is happening in the course so we cannot determine whether it would fall into this bucket).
  4. Reviewed the course catalog for courses that, either through the course title or course description, indicated a significant hands-on experience outside of the classroom supervised by a professional in the field.

Once APIR identified the list of courses that would be assigned the PRAC attribute, they determined the value based on how the courses were utilized in the program curriculum (see below for the guidelines). They produced a list of courses and their corresponding PRAC attributes and submitted to the Office of the Registrar for implementation in SIS. APIR submitted changes to the vendor to allow for the new attribute to display on the Lumen Course proposal form to allow for seamless assignment in the future.

Post-Implementation Identification

  1. Course proposals through the Lumen Course Proposal system.
    1. a. Most courses assigned with the PRAC attribute will be identified through the course proposal process. As courses progress through workflow, APIR will review the course title, description, component, course rationale, and sample syllabus to determine whether the course is a candidate for the PRAC. If a course clearly indicates an out-of-class learning experience, it will be flagged as a PRAC course.
      1. Is the experience of the course providing a student supervised practical knowledge of a specialized field of study? If so, the course should be assigned the PRAC attribute.
      2. Is there a substantial amount of time spent in the classroom? If so, the course should not be assigned the PRAC attribute.
      3. Laboratories that are primarily a class-room styled course (structured curriculum) are not candidates for the PRAC attribute.
  2. Academic program curriculum (specifically required courses that are placements) through the Lumen Program Proposal system.
    1. As programs are being reviewed, APIR will review to see if PRAC courses are used within the curriculum. If the curriculum utilizes courses that qualify for the PRAC attribute, the required-ability of the course determines the value of the attribute. If a program has a required placement, it will be flagged as such on the NC-SARA field in the administrative section of Lumen Programs as being a SARA program. These programs are reviewed annually to ensure that the curriculum has not changed.

Determining the Attribute Value associate with the PRAC Attribute

To determine the assigned attribute value (OPTIONAL or REQUIRED) of an identified practical experience course requires review of academic program curriculum. When courses and programs being created simultaneously, it can be difficult to determine the value of the practical experience course. If there is uncertainty which value should be assigned, APIR will consult with the department to determine whether a course is a required element of the curriculum or if it is a course that is one of a variety of course options that will fulfill requirements.

General Guidelines:
  1. A course being listed as an option within curriculum (“Select one of the following courses…”) but is not a required element of completing the program will be flagged as an OPTIONAL value.
  2. Courses that are listed as electives will be flagged as an OPTIONAL value.
  3. Curriculum indicating that a placement must be completed at least once will be flagged as REQUIRED.
  4. Many of the REQUIRED courses are determined by the context of how the curriculum has been entered in Guide. Typically, these are easy to identify.
  5. For many of the professional programs, their curriculum is not listed in Guide. This requires APIR to review the curriculum listed on departmental websites and consulting with the program to determine which value to assign a course.

Optional Example

In the example listed above, CURRIC 720, CS&D 790 should all be labeled with an OPTIONAL value. Students will need to take either CURRIC 720 or CS&D 790, but neither are specifically called out as needing to be completed (this is a gray area – these courses are listed many times within this program’s specific curriculum, so it’s likely students are going to have to take both, but they aren’t explicitly noted as needing to be completed). The second CS&D 790 has a comment noting that it is an optional advanced practicum; also being labeled as OPTIONAL.


Required Example

In the example listed above, CURRIC 373 is a required element of the program. It isn’t listed as being optional, or one of many to complete a requirement.

Resource Documents

Practical Experience Course Attribute, Implementation Memo (Milner) (2 May 2019)

Rules for Assigning the PRAC Attribute

Keywords:clinical, practicum   Doc ID:116443
Owner:Karen M.Group:Academic Planning
Created:2022-02-02 10:54 CSTUpdated:2022-02-03 15:08 CST
Sites:Academic Planning
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