Monday, January 06, 2014
Saving Students from Themselves
So, my question to my wise and worldly readers. If your college has an intersession or something like it, do you have a maximum number of classes or credits that a student can take at one time? If so, what did you base it on?
We have no limit on the number of Boot Camp classes a student can take, but there is an effective limit of two, as those two classes would fill up an entire day, each day of the week. I suppose a truly masochistic student could take a third Boot Camp class during the evening hours, but that would be beyond insane.
Given that your Intercession is so short, how can a student possibly fit in more than one course? It must be completely impossible to take more than two, right?
It essentially limits a student to one course in an interim-length term (three weeks) and two courses in a summer term (six weeks.) Exceptions can be made for "exceptional" students in the summer but not in interim terms.
Scuttlebutt says that the decision-makers didn't expect that any students would want to take more than one minimester at a time; otherwise it would have been limited right away.
We don't have anything shorter than 6 weeks, and that does not exist in isolation so it is not possible to extrapolate from our situation to yours. We do, however, tell students that one six-week class is like two and a half regular classes. You might try telling them that each intersession class is like taking seven regular classes at once.
If the class is online, and the student isn't physically in the room, it's easy to imagine some students (and others) thinking that they should be able to do the work and learn everything in very little time. But since many college classes are planned through a long tradition of learning something that takes, say 90 hours or more in a semester, it's easy for more experienced teachers/learners to see that learning the material might be difficult.
However, if ever there's a time to see if one can divorce credits from hours, this might be the time.
1) Only one course. Period, no exceptions.
2) They're beginning to run into problems with it, and are considering major modifications. Among other issues, a growing number of the courses are off-campus (in sunny, warm climes) and, increasingly (as I understand it) of dubious academic merit. A second problem is that faculty are not required to offer them, and it's apparently becoming more difficult to get the faculty excited about them.