111 new 8-week sections arrive


Bethany Probst

Students signing up for eight-week classes can finish their degrees at a faster pace than students who strictly take 15-week classes.

Bethany Probst, Co-Editor

AACC will offer 111 more eight-week classes this semester than it did last spring.

The college is running 408 eight-week sections of 177 courses this semester.

The traditional semester is 15 weeks. Eight-week sections compress the same information into a course that lasts half a semester.

Liz Clary, academic course scheduler, said AACC has offered eight-week versions of its classes at least since the mid-1990s, when she started working here.

Dave Meng, chair of the English and Communications Department, said eight-week courses can accommodate more students’ schedules.

“The main rationale is to offer as many formats for taking courses as we can,” Meng said. “Students have all different kinds of schedule needs, especially at community college.”

Meng added although eight-week courses are condensed, the same amount of material is taught when compared with 15-week courses.

When it comes to learning, some students need “incubation time,” Meng said.

“It’s especially important for writing. … When you write, you have ideas and you need time … in an eight-week course, you don’t have that,” Meng said. “If you are OK with that, as a student, and you devote your time into it, then it’s doable.”

Some students said they prefer eight-week courses over 15-week courses.

Phil Garvin, a second-year engineering transfer student, said he enjoyed the time he spent in his eight-week general chemistry course.

“It’s really just more convenient for most peoples’ lifestyle,” Garvin said. “The course was very helpful for my work schedule and the longevity of how I’m staying at AACC.”

Dr. Mike Gavin, vice president for learning, said student success rates are higher in eight-week classes than 15-week classes. “It depends on the semester,” he said. “Sometimes 5 percent, sometimes 10 percent [more].”

He added some students work better in an eight-week class. “Time is the enemy of completion,” Gavin said. “The longer it takes to complete your degree, the more likely it is that you will not complete your degree.”

Gavin noted students who want to take fewer classes can benefit from taking an eight-week course because the shorter schedule allows them to enroll in another eight-week class in the same semester.

“If you can take the equivalent of a full-time semester but only take two or three classes at a time by utilizing the eight weeks, that seems to be a good strategy for many students,” Gavin said.

Alyssa Rose, a second-year American sign language student, said she was glad she took an eight-week course last fall, rather than a traditional course.

“I figured an eight-week course would be a little harder,” Rose said. “But then it would end quicker and [I’d] have some more time to just relax without worrying about taking that many classes.”