SRU’s Winter Session can ‘warm up’ credit completion
Oct. 28, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The holidays are often a time of celebration with families, friends and a bevy of traditions. But for many uber-focused Slippery Rock University students, it can also be a time of textbooks, study guides and tests courtesy of the Dec. 21-Jan. 13 Winter Session.
Winter Session enables students to take courses normally offered in traditional classrooms via a totally online format during the University's winter break.
Students can earn up to seven credits during the session, allowing them to raise their GPA or graduate on or ahead of time.
Registration for the 150 undergraduate and graduate classes begins Nov. 7 for SRU students and Nov. 21 for students from other institutions, who, with permission, may transfer earned credits to their home institution. First-year and transfer students who had planned to start their SRU experience in the spring semester are eligible to enroll in the Winter Session.
"Whether students need to make up a course, earn extra credit or just want to explore a special interest, Winter Session is popular with many of our enrolled and visiting students," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment management.
"We have found that Winter Session classes are an important factor in supporting student success at SRU," said David Wilmes, associate provost for student success. "Students are able to work ahead in their degree plan, round out their experience with electives, or retake courses in which they may not have received a passing grade."
Wilmes said SRU promotes the idea of "15 to degree" which encourages students to take 15 credits each semester so that they can graduate in four years.
"This does not always work for every student," Wilmes said. "These days, our students have many competing demands, including work and family obligations. Winter Session allows them to build a buffer into their degree plan so that they can stay on track to a traditional, four-year graduation."
To assist students in these efforts, SRU selected courses for the Winter Session that are in high demand by students, said Wilmes.
"Those that are required fill quickly during the regular semester," he said. "Our plan is to continue to assess which courses meet those criteria so we ensure that Winter Session has a strong impact on student success and degree completion."
Wilmes added that SRU's faculty members play a huge role in fostering student success during the fall and spring semesters and the mentoring spirit continues during Winter Session.
"Not only do they impact students daily through their teaching, but they often help students to develop their educational aspirations," he said.
Enrollment has increased annually since SRU launched Winter Session in 2011-12 with 435 students. According to the Office of Academic Planning, Resource Management and Assessment, 1,791 students enrolled in a Winter Session course during the 2015-16 academic year.
Winter Session offers a wide range of courses across many of fields of study, including: liberal studies, education, business, health care and computer science. Additionally, the variety of class offerings is on the rise, with new options such as "Theoretical Criminology," taught by Rebecca Ridener, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.
She said the course explores the many theories of the causes of crime, including psychological, economic, political and biological.
"In general, the focus of the course is presenting students with different explanations for why individuals and groups engage or do not engage in crime," she said. "In terms of the benefits of teaching online, I do post my lectures ¬- PowerPoint presentations with audio - so students still get the full teaching experience. I've found, students seem more willing to post on discussion boards than speak in class. This definitely aids in discussion and the professor's ability to assess if the students are comprehending the materials correctly."
Other new offerings include "Mathematics as a Liberal Art," "World Religions" and "Topics in Japanese Culture."
"This course provides deeper knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture by examining and analyzing selected topics in Japanese culture from multiple perspectives," said Yukako Ishmaru, instructor of modern languages and cultures, who will teach "Topics in Japanese Culture." "We strive to provide material that goes beyond the stereotypical images of Japan such as samurai, anime and sushi."
For more information on Winter Sessions, visit: http://www.sru.edu/academics/winter-session
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