Opinions split on impact of 16-week semester

Mary Lamkin
November 15, 2002
Filed under News

Two weeks can make a big difference in class times and scheduling, according to students and faculty, who are approaching the end of Bakersfield College’s first 16-week semester.

Peggy Harmon, 50, a liberal studies student, said it’ll be nice having a couple of weeks more for the winter break, but added that the drawback is in adding those few extra minutes to class times, making a big difference to the students who catch the bus.

“A lot of students ride the bus because it makes it a lot easier with no parking, but with changes in the class schedule times, it’s made it very inconvenient,” said Harmon, who rides the bus.

Jared Marsau, 21, an engineering major and student for several semesters, likes the change.

“It’s over quicker. The times are weird, but that doesn’t bother me,” he said.

Paula Strome, a computer studies professor, said she looks forward to the prospect of having five weeks off at Christmas.

“As a teacher, it will give me more time to get prepared for the following semester, which is a good thing,” she said.

But the schedule can be tough on some students.

Strome said that with the 17 minutes added to a three-hour night class, it’ll make it tougher on a night student who is already tired and having to stay later.

“I’ve had to cut back on the amount of homework I give because we only have 16 weeks, so students are probably thinking it’s a good thing, and it’s less grading for me. In the long run, maybe they’re not getting as much out of it,” she said.

Computer instructor Colleen Mesel said she had to cut important material from her curriculum.

“I don’t think it was the best for our students and for the knowledge that we want to be sure they have when they leave.”

Mesel added, “We’ve had to make it work.”

Psychology professor Steve Eso, who was one of the people involved on the Academic Senate committee to make the change, said, “You know, honestly I think it’s too early to tell. It’s going to require a year to a year and a half for people to get used to the new time blocks, adjusting their classes for student and faculty.

“I would guess, two years from now or so, that we could do a thorough analysis.”

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