Post Classifieds

AN EXTRA WEEK OF CLASS

Because education shouldn’t be a mad dash

By Alex Farmer
On April 13, 2014

In an article earlier this semester, I offered an idea on how to improve the attendance policy on campus.
To summarize that article: Level 1000 and 2000 classes would have attendance grades while level 3000 and 4000 classes would not.
The rationale was that the university could still "weed out" and "guide" the younger students like it aims to do with the current policy.
However, upperclassmen would not have to worry about points being deducted from their grade just because of absences.  
I received a great deal of positive feedback from students regarding the idea. So in the spirit of improving our academic experience even more, I offer another suggestion.
I believe that semesters need to be extended by one week.  
Yes, I realize the previous statement just made some students cringe. However, I truly feel that an extension would benefit both the students and professors.
In an attempt to justify my call for this extension, we will start by looking at the background story.
For our purposes, we will look at the duration of a semester, for the students and the professors.
This spring semester, classes began on Jan. 16 and will end on May 2. The dreaded week of final exams runs from May 3-8.
That means there are officially 15 weeks and one day for classes with six days for final exams.
Those numbers are weak even before mentioning the fact that we missed several days due to snow.
If you have ever navigated your way through a college semester as a student, you know the saying, "When it rains, it pours."
This phrase is so applicable because of how cramped and stressful a semester usually is.
Even if you do not want to admit it, you know down deep that it would have been easier to retain information if there had been more time to study or practice the material. The same pressure applies to professors, as well.
Professors are required to cover a certain amount of material for each class within a semester.
They have the same amount of time to cover the material as students do to learn it.
Unfortunately, this means there is no time to slow down, even if a particular subject is not being understood as well as it should.
Alas, this information just inadvertently affirmed the belief held by many students that professors just do not care about their learning.
Now we know how long a semester is and that it is very cramped for students and professors.
Now, suppose a professor has five major categories to cover in a class. That works out to three weeks per category.
The professor has laid out the syllabus and schedule. There is to be a test once every three weeks.
Sadly, however, students are having a hard time comprehending Concept A. The professor only has a set amount of time to teach it as thoroughly as possible before having to move to Concept B.
Unfortunately, the test on Concept A happens at the specified time even though the students are not ready for it.
The result is not only bad grades, but also a missed opportunity for students to learn the material.
If we executed my plan of extension, the extra week could assist students in having more study time on Concept A.
Professors would experience less stress for teaching the material. Students would be less stressed and would learn the material.
This was a very simplified situation, but it showed the basis of the problem.
The sad truth is professors have just enough time to cover material once before having to move on to something else.
As I mentioned, the result is usually students gaining a less-than-desirable understanding of the material.
That does not even include the fact that their GPA also takes a hit every time a situation like this occurs.
I realize that one of the key components of college is learning how to manage your time. I also understand that college is not meant to be easy.
This suggestion is not aimed at trying to take away from learning time-management skills.
What my suggestion is aimed at is increasing the knowledge that students gain and retain. I believe the result would be an increase in knowledge and a decrease in stress.
As always, follow me on Twitter @GatorZ25 and let me know what you thought about the article. Stay safe and God Bless!


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