A Taste of OCAAT Course Structure in Canada

Jun 4, 2019 · 2 min read

Your options to studying One Course At a Time in Canada

Photo by Cynthia del Río on Unsplash

Known for its intensity and a fit with certain study fields, the celebrated OCAAT (One Course At a Time) course delivery mode is not readily adapted in North America. Many people argue that this is largely because of its logistical complexity.

OCAAT is a study program delivery mode where students take, as its name implies, one course at a time. A study period, sometimes known as a block, can be 15 days to a month at a time. Students will spend a few contact hours (2–5 hours) and some individual study hours a day fully concentrating on a single course.

In the United States, there are only a few colleges out of 5,000 institutions that teach in a OCAAT curriculum, some examples are Colorado College in Colorado, Cornell College in Iowa, and Tusculum College in Tennessee. In Canada, there is no college or university that offers this as the primary track towards degree.

However, you may be able to reap some of the benefits at institutions that offers a hybrid. For example, the Augustana Campus at the University of Alberta in Alberta have a 4 + 1 semester system, where in a 5-courses full load semester students will study for 3 weeks for a single course, then 11 weeks on 4 more courses. This structure is slightly more condensed. Many students like it because it fits better with more rigorous/harder courses or those that have a field component.

Even in a regular semester-based degree and campus, you can find courses that are differently structured. For example, institutions with leading mining engineering programs such as University of British Columbia and University of Manitoba may have week-long field schools where a semester’s worth of work and credit hours packed into one or two weeks.

If nothing else, you can always opt for summer schools, where you will learn the full syllabus of a course within anywhere from 3 to 6 to 13 weeks. By doing this, you get a taste of how OCAAT challenges you to fully focus in one course, and to learn fast and deliver assignments and projects fast. At the same time, you can always fall back on your regular semester structure that demands greater discipline and time management skills.

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