By Brandon Naff
Typically, summer for most students means a break from tests, lectures, textbooks, and most other school-related worries.
“Personally I think summer is a time for making money and having fun,” said Becky Conover, 21. “You have to take a break from class sometime!”
But for a select few, it’s an opportunity to get caught up with, or get ahead of other classmates.
Fewer classes are offered in the summer, and run shorter in terms of weeks, but consist of the same number of hours as a class during regular quarter. For example, there are eight and five week classes during the summer, each consisting of 50 hours total for five credits.
“It makes the class accelerated, the shorter time frame,” says Tony Will, who has an interpersonal communication class he will be teaching this summer. “But it almost doesn’t feel that way because summer is so laid back as it is,” he added. “If it was during the regular school year it would feel fast.”
“Summer classes can be intense because you have a lot less time than you do with normal quarters,” said Jaci Fisher, 18. “But it’s a good way to catch up or get ahead! I would do them if I had the money.”
You’ll see some variation in curriculum changes. “In terms of exams, I do the same amount,” said Will, who did admit his class lectures did have to be consolidated in the summer.
“For me there’s normally one less test,” said Guy Smith, who will teach a public speaking course this summer. “You can’t expect content to be as thorough…It’s so fast and compressed…You can’t necessarily do all you want to do.”
With the nice weather, you may think some students would find it difficult to show up for class, but that isn’t necessarily true. “I’d say students are more likely to attend during the summer, because when you’re gone there’s a greater impact,” said Will.
Smith agreed, adding that he didn’t notice a difference in attendance at Whatcom, but said “I did when I taught at WSU because the classes were every day.”
“If a student misses a class, it’s probably work related,” he added.
Students have the same perception.
“I go more often, just because I know I only have the class twice a week,” said Haylie Miller, 21. “I know if I miss one class I’ll get into a habit of skipping and then I’m screwed.”
Will says teaching in the summer is “a challenge, but you have to be adaptable.”
You can view available online classes at the Whatcom Oasis Web site.
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