Home Education Students Unaccustomed to Semesters Find it Difficult to Adjust Pt. 1

Students Unaccustomed to Semesters Find it Difficult to Adjust Pt. 1

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The first fall semester is coming to an end at Ohio University, with many students displeased over the transition from quarters to semesters.

It’s week 12 at OU, two weeks too long for most seasoned quarter-lovers. With three weeks left until finals, OU upperclassmen – unaccustomed to the extra credit hours, shorter class times and Friday classes – may be feeling a little bit exhausted. The general sentiment among sophomores and up is one of nostalgia as they look back and appreciate their time under quarters.

For others who find semesters more favorable, the final weeks concluding the semester are a welcomed trial.

When the university planned to make the switch to semesters for this fall because of a mandate from the Ohio Board of Regents, it was seen as a major benefit to students; for every public university to be on the same academic calendar in Ohio eliminated the semester schools’ competitive edge when it came to applying for internships and jobs.

Although any definitive reasons as to why students hate semesters are unclear, there are a number of factors that students have cited: less in-class time, one extra class tacked on with extra work, long intervals between assignments and due dates, less opportunities for absences without penalties, less class variety, different holiday breaks and a confused fest season.

Tyler Gawley and Cody Walker showcase their distaste for semesters. Photo by Zachary Ertel

The New Political surveyed students to research the real reasons why students may feel that semesters are harder. While the survey’s results were inconclusive, participants were asked to comment on their personal views of the quarters to semester transition.

“I imagined semesters to cover more material than quarters, as I’m assuming a lot of people did,” one anonymous participant commented. “However, I think there is just more of a lull in space between assignments and tests now than there was when teachers allegedly had “less” time to teach what they wanted to teach … On quarters, you received an assignment and had to have it done by the next week, or the end of the week, so even if you did stress out about it, you had it fresh in your mind. I absolutely think semesters are harder than quarters.”

Another reason students have cited for the more intensive semester schedule is the amount of coursework a student is now expected to complete. Another anonymous participant said, “I feel like professors have extra time so they add a shit ton of more work for students to work on throughout the semester.”

“With students now taking five classes with a longer and more vigorous workload, students, like myself, have a hard time completing all of the work assigned,” the participant said.

Jeff Giesey, director of the quarters to semesters transition, said the university left it to the different departments and faculty to determine the new semester curriculum.

“We ran workshops for interested faculty on how they could adjust their courses to take advantages of semesters,” said Giesey. “They were well attended.”

The transition cost the university $2 million, according to an earlier New Political article.  The transition also came with a number of scheduling glitches that had to be hammered out along the way.

Still, some students remain optimistic about semesters.

“I feel like quarters forced you to learn things and learn them quickly, requiring more study time,” another participant said.

“I think quarters are harder, because you have a shorter period of time and yes, profs do try to squeeze a lot of material in sometimes, but I prefer them over semesters because it seems as though semesters just drag on and on,” said another.

The semester transition “has a high maturity for continuous improvement,” according to a transition review released by the university, which outlines the specific progress and challenges of the transition.

Of the challenges, the review listed budgetary factors as roadblock.

“Although challenging budgetary times present limitations, the university continues to may [sic] progress and move forward with the conversion,” the review stated.

But despite predicted challenges and setbacks, the review concluded with “Job well done.”

This is the first part of a series from The New Political.

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