The Spring Term, 2011

I've written about Spring Term before, describing my misconceptions about the kind of students who take courses in Intersession (Spring and Summer Terms), and about their reasons for taking them. This time, a little bit about one of the greatest challenges in taking an Intersession course: time.

Courses in Spring (and Summer) Term last for 6 weeks. Unless you've signed up for a 3-week Spring or Summer Term course. That's right: first day of class to final exam in 3 weeks. I've taught 3 weeks courses before, at another institution. It's 3 hours of lecture every day, Monday to Thursday. Then on Friday there's a midterm and another lecture to round out the 3 hours. It's brutal. Don't even think about taking two of these monsters at the same time. Your social life will go out the window and you'll have to catch up on your favourite TV shows later. It's just go to class, read the textbook, go to class, read the textbook. So, in contrast, a 6-week course doesn't sound too bad.

In 6-week courses, there's "only" 70 minutes of class every day, and an exam "only" about every 2 weeks. Let's compare (labs aside, assuming a full course load):

  • "regular" Fall/Winter Term: 770 minutes (about 12.8 hours) per week in class (five courses)
  • Spring/Summer Term: 700 minutes (about 11.7 hours) a week (two courses)
For me, here are my in-class teaching hours (not counting prep work, of course):
  • Fall/Winter: 7.8 hours/week
  • Spring/Summer: 11.7 hours/week
(Net result? I have to work harder in Intersession.)

The point of all this silly number crunching? Don't take Intersession courses lightly. Be prepared to devote your time appropriately--these courses still count toward your GPA. It's tough to concentrate on the yada-yada of your instructor when the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. *sigh*

If you've taken Intersession courses before, what are your tips for making it through?

Why aren't you studying?


Anastasia said...

My tip is don't leave all the studying to the morning of the exam. Start at least the night before.

Karsten A. Loepelmann said...

@Anastasia: Hey, now! Some students may think this is actual good advice.

Students should, of course, start studying 6 months before the exam.

Anastasia said...

Meh, worked for me.

Seriously though I think the most important thing is to just come to class and pay attention.

Find It