SRU’s Winter Session provides ‘cool’ options


winters sesssion tag

Oct. 30, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - There are many reasons why traditional and non-traditional students choose Slippery Rock University for their higher education: It provides a quality education at an affordable price, majors are career focused and increasingly, it provides a variety of convenient options for completing their degree. SRU's Dec. 16-Jan. 12 Winter Session takes convenience to a "cooler" level by enabling 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 7 credits, getting a "break" from day-to-day campus life while accumulating credits to help them graduate on time, raise their grade-point average or explore a personal interest.

Registration begins Nov. 2 for SRU students and Nov. 23 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 spring semester are eligible to enroll in the Winter Session.

"Winter courses are still something of a hidden secret, but that is changing," said Philip Way, provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. "Students are taking Winter Session courses in increasing numbers as they realize they can graduate more quickly and begin earning salaries sooner in their chosen career fields. Winter courses are convenient because they are online and can be completed from wherever students spend the break. While offerings are not as extensive as in the regular semesters, the faculty endeavors to offer courses that students most need."

During the session, SRU offers daily access to a Bailey Library reference librarian and tech support for students who have trouble logging onto MySRU or D2L. Limited financial aid is available to SRU students.

"Whether students need to make up a course, earn extra credit or just want to explore a special interest, Winter Session is popular with our enrolled students as well as our visiting students," said Amanda Yale, associate provost for enrollment services.

The courses help students get ahead and stay ahead. Students can select from a wide range of courses taught by SRU faculty, including liberal studies, education, business, computer science and other major course options.

Last year, nearly 1,700 students took advantage of this experience and enrolled in undergraduate and graduate Winter Session courses.

"The number of students who enroll in winter sessions demonstrate how much they value this opportunity," Yale said.

Since SRU launched Winter Session in 2011-12, enrollment has increased from 435 to 1,685 students in 2014-15, according to SRU academic planning and institution research.

"The number of courses offered is increasing. We see increased interest in not only students taking courses but faculty offering to teach courses during Winter Session," said Eliott Baker, executive director of academics records and summer school, who coordinates registration for Winter Session.

Oftentimes fall and spring semesters can be hectic for college students as they juggle 18 credits, extracurricular activities and social obligations, he said.

"We are able to offer this to our students as a convenient way for them to still go home over winter break but continue to take classes," Baker said. "A lot of students, for any number of reasons, face academic challenges during the fall semester. This gives them a wonderful opportunity to stay on track."

"When we started Winter Session, we had no idea whether it would be popular, but boy our students have spoken with their feet," Baker said. "They clearly have shown an interest in it."

Winter Session is proving to be popular among working professionals, especially those who are employed as teachers, who take classes that are offered only during winter and summer breaks.

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