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University of Silesia in Katowice

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Types of classes in a nutshell

Lecture – the class tutor presents theoretical knowledge from a given field which usually takes the form of an expanded monologue, although, sometimes questions may be asked. Presence during lectures is not obligatory but it is worth to attend them in order to pass the exam without any issues. Ability to take fast notes is useful.

Practical classes – they expand the knowledge through practical classes, frequently constituting supplementation of the lecture. They are obligatory. While participating in classes, independently or in groups, one may analyse and solve problems, develop skills, learn practical things.

Laboratories – they belong to practical classes during which research and experiments are carried out with the use of laboratory equipment and research devices (these include for instance computer or language labs).

Conversation classes – a type of classes during which a lecturer discusses with students the topics raised during lectures.

Field exercises – exercises realized outside of the premises of the university which consist in conducting observations and gathering data outside.

Foreign language classes – classes covering learning (improvement) a foreign language.

Professional practice – they consist in delegating a student for a specific period of time for work related to their major of studies. Professional practices are held in economic entities (institutions, didactic units) and are targeted at using and consolidating the theoretical knowledge obtained as well as gaining specific skills that prepare for the conduct of a specific profession, i.e. a teacher.

Workshops – practical classes improving the selected skills.

Seminars – type of classes that occur in the higher years of studies. These classes prepare students to writing a diploma thesis: bachelor’s engineer’s or master’s thesis independently. During them, a small group of students meets with a promotor and discusses specific theoretical issues and research problems of the selected thesis topics. You may also come across the term “proseminar”. This active form of classes introduces students to independent work on a text, search for materials, familiarization with research tools and methods, preparing for participation in a seminar.

Tutoring – classes based on direct, systematic (weekly/bi-weekly) meetings between a student and a tutor, devoted to discussing essays prepared by the student and planning the subsequent works. The course of an individual meeting in the framework of a tutoring covers reading of the essay, discussing it and establishing the subsequent topic. Meetings are of individual nature or occur in a group of several persons.


Other student terms

Exam session – period of time (at the end of a semester) in which classes no longer occur and students must undergo exams. It usually lasts two weeks.

Colloquium – verbal or partially written form of knowledge verification from the discussed material (most frequently in the scope of exercises/speaking classes/laboratories). It may take the form of a final test that verifies the knowledge of material discussed during the whole semester or partial colloquiums that occur several times in a semester.

Credit – a positive grade, most frequently from practical classes (but also from some lectures) obtained on the basis of a verbal or written colloquium or/and final paper prepared by a student (i.e. in the form of an essay, review, project). Possessing all credits confirmed by entries in the student record book constitutes a condition necessary in order for a student to be able to attend the exam session. Obtaining credits is also necessary in order to attend an exam from a specific module.

Exam – a written or verbal form of verifying the knowledge of students from specific modules. If a module consists of exercises and lectures, a condition to attend an exam is obtaining credits from practical classes.

Rector’s hours (Rector’s days) – a time during which no classes are held, announced by the rector, usually due to an important event at the university.

Learning effects – they are a description of knowledge, skills and social competencies that are gained during studies.

Major – a separated part of a given programme of studies that one may select depending on scientific or professional interests. In case of some programmes, a decision must be made at the stage of recruitment, however, in majority of cases a major is chosen after the first or second semester of studies.

Module – a subject or group of subjects, including internship or diploma seminar. Each module has assigned to it learning effects and number of ECTS points.

Curriculum – a description of the learning effects and the process conducted in order to obtain these effects for a given programme with an indicated number of ECTS points assigned to specific modules of classes.

Plan of studies – network of hours encompassing the list of modules and the number of hours divided into semesters/years in the whole cycle of education, that is, a schedule of classes.

Syllabus – a description of the module compliant with the template accepted at the university, specifying among others the learning effects, the scope of discussed content during classes, the recommended literature and the conditions for obtaining credits.

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