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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Semester conversion receives mixed reviews

More than half agree conversion to semesters is going smoothly

In a new survey, 54.9 percent of Otterbein students said they think the transition to semesters has gone smoothly.

Kate Lehman, the assistant dean for student success, said the transition has gone as well as expected.

Although more time for unexpected delays would have helped, there have not been any major problems, she said.


What would you change about the transition process?
• Not have it happen at all.
• I think that when we switched to semesters time was not addressed. Classes at Otterbein are nearly the same length they were with quarters. At other schools on semesters, the classes are much shorter, and due to the fact the classes are long, they eliminate the change to take as many classes and therefore students risk falling behind. Especially for those students who have a schedule that contain laboratories that accompany their core class, and those last from 3-4 hours.
• Some type of tuition break for those students that now have extra classes to take due to the semester transition (i.e. the BMB majors have more required classes under the semester system, which may cause current sophomores and juniors to graduate a semester or two late)
• I think the class modules should have been shorter. For example, classes that meet one evening per week were made longer than they were on quarters. They used to be 6:15-9:30 for 10 weeks, but are now 6-9:30 for 14 weeks.
• Given more time to get all the kinks worked out and talked to the professors more because I feel like they are still lost themselves.
• The Communication practicums all occurring at the same time was a disastrous idea!
• Professors need to understand that they have less in class time and its not necessarily far to up their curriculum. We had 30 in class hours in Quarters not we have 28 on Semesters. The point of Semesters is to be more thorough not go at the same pace and go over more with less continuity.
• Personally I had no problems. As long as you took the steps, especially meeting with your advisor and planning out what exact classes you’re going to take, you should have had a smooth transition.
• I’m not sure. Scheduling was the biggest stress because classes are conflicting.
• I wouldn’t have done it.
• Faculty and advisors should have been better prepared to then better prepare the students. There also should have been more communication between the departments.
• nothing
• Have morning greeting lines, complete with granola bars and balloons, before class every morning. Also, I think the prime time for changing our mascot from the cardinal to the otter would have this fall semester.
• No! actually, it is going pretty smoothly.
• I would really rather just be on quarters
• Make the classes shorter like all the other schools on semesters! Classes shouldn’t be as long as they still are when on semesters
• I wish we spent less time in classes
• I would have allowed a greater time period for the current juniors and seniors to complete their degree path under the old quarter requirement
• The workload has not changed at all, and now we have 4 classes each semester. It’s a lot more work so far. Also, the class times are strange (9:25, etc). I do like the fall break, and the fact that our christmas break is still long. The timeline overall for the school schedule is reasonable.
• There are a lot of one day a week classes offered which are hard to stay on top of but you know that when signing up for classes so it’s not really a problem that needs fix – just annoying.
• various time conflicts for scheduling
• I’m not sure I would ask them to change anything, ask me week 12
• i don’t know yet
• The lack of increase in absent days and about the number of credits you could take,
• more attention on those in transition. too many overlooks by advisors/administrators in what students can accomplish, not having a clear outline of requirements..
• Panicking professors. It seemed pretty seamless, so I feel like there was a lot of worry over something that amounted to be nothing.
• There needs to be better communication and more time should have been allotted to prepare. All three of my professors this semester have openly stated that they are confused by the transition to semesters, do not like it, do not feel prepared, do not feel that their superiors have sufficient knowledge to help them, and two of the three believe it will hinder student learning.
• I would change some class times because they interfere with a schedule that I am used to from quarters, but I understand this probably is not possible.
• It would have been great for required major and inst classes to not overlap so much in the new terms.
• I intentionally graduated a year early to avoid the semester change.
• Back to quarters.
• Bring back more evening, Saturday, and more online classes for students who work during the day.

“We tried to do the most preparation we could, and then we’ve just tried to handle any issues that come up as quickly and as best we can, but I think overall it’s been a good start,” Lehman said.

Lehman said a couple scheduling issues arose, namely whether prerequisites were set properly and if classes were being sequenced appropriately.

Students have given mixed reviews on the transition from quarters to semesters. From the results of a Tan & Cardinal online survey, 31.4 percent of students said they don’t think it went smoothly, and 13.7 percent of students said they don’t know.

One student from the anonymous online survey wrote, “Personally I had no problems. As long as you took the steps, especially meeting with your adviser and planning out what exact classes you’re going to take, you should have had a smooth transition.”

Mollie Majcher, a senior actuarial science major, did not have the same reaction. “I don’t like having more classes for a longer period of time while the professors are still moving at quarters pace when we are actually on semesters,” she said

Lehman expressed that for faculty, it was almost a relief to be back in school because they had been working so hard over the short summer to redesign courses and plan for new INST classes.

For incoming freshmen, there is a completely new scheduling process. Previously students received a packet of information and registered for classes on their own. Now there is an online survey where students share their preferences with scheduling, and then faculty build their schedules prior to the students’ arrival.

“Overall, huge improvement. I think we were really able to work with students and we didn’t have the same anxieties and frustrations that we did in the past,” Lehman said.

Otterbein decided to go with the four-credit course instead of the typical three-hour course that other schools on semesters have.

According to Lehman, this schedule provides students with classes that are a little more in depth as opposed to on a three-hour credit model.

J-term, or January term, was set up in hopes that students would do the 4-1-4, meaning four classes in the fall, one during J-term and four during spring. The approximate number of students enrolled in J-term classes so far is 1,002, according to Associate Registrar Cindy Davis.

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