As spring quarter comes to a close and some students look forward to a summer of relaxation and sunshine, others continuing their education during summer quarter will see new changes in effect in the Pierce College summer quarter schedule.
The main change to summer quarter is the greater number of courses offered to students. The overall increase in offered courses is about 20 percent.
Classes are also scheduled in a block format. Classes will start at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and will each last for about two hours.
The system will allow students to choose to only take classes two days a week, either Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Students will have the option to be on campus two days a week, or to have one time for classes. Students can take more than one by alternating classes each day.
“Most classes are offered on a two-day schedule, so a student could take one or multiple classes on two days rather than spread out over five days,” said Dr. Matthew Campbell, vice president of learning and student success. “We heard a lot about students faced with daycare and transportation costs for which a two-day schedule would have a positive impact. We were also much more strategic in thinking about how we schedule classes. That is, we were careful to assure that courses that students would commonly take simultaneously did not overlap. The whole process for scheduling summer was very focused on student needs and student success.”
This change was not only centered on student success and degree completion, but on boosting enrollment for the college.
“We saw summer as an excellent opportunity to provide some expanded offerings,” Campbell said. “The ability to do a pretty tight block schedule facilitated this. Again, the opportunity for students to complete more courses during summer helps them move more quickly toward completion, which is an essential part of our commitment to students’ success. In addition, we wanted to inspire increased enrollment, which both increases access for students to popular and/or required classes and also helps us meet our state requirements that drive a portion of our funding.”
Three main goals were created when the idea of changing the organization of summer quarter began. Campbell explained the goals included helping students shorten their completion times, which will save them money or to help other students jump-start their educations. The college hopes to then to be able to collect data on the outcome of the block schedule and students opinion of it and continue to strive to give students access to key courses for degrees or certificates.
The hope is that each of these goals will be met during the eight-week quarter this summer. While Pierce does hope enrollment will increase during summer quarter, summer quarter isn’t intended to become a necessary for the associate degree, but rather to help those looking to get ahead or catch up on their degree.
“I’m excited to see these alterations to our summer term. It gives us great opportunity to try some innovative scheduling and class formats and to see if they support student success in the ways we hope they will,” Campbell said. “This kind of opportunity, and the evaluation of its success, really inform how we think about broader implementation of these types of strategies to advance student success.”
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