Binghamton University announces Winter Session pilot
Offering students another option for spending their time between the fall and spring semester, Binghamton University will offer a Winter Session beginning January 2005.
The pilot program will be conducted as a separate term and not considered part of the spring or fall academic semesters. Offerings will include approximately 18 to 20 undergraduate courses and a few graduate courses, taught in a two-and-a-half week period.
“The session will be intensive, but research shows that we can teach this way,” said Thomas Kowalik, director of Continuing Education & Outreach. “Students are much more sophisticated and the short, intensive format is attractive to non-traditional as well as traditional students. We need to look for alternative ways to meet their needs and deliver to our target audiences, and this will help us do it.”
Mary Ann Swain, provost and vice president for academic affairs, agrees. “As the needs of students change, they want more options,” she said. “This session offers fluidity and we need to be adaptive.” The experiment, as Swain calls it, will offer both on-campus and distance learning instruction in the compressed time period. “We need to craft a greater variety of ways that students can learn and meet their graduation requirements,” she said.
The four-credit courses will meet state regulations of at least 562 minutes per credit. Given the compressed format, classes will likely meet daily, Monday through Friday, beginning January 3, unless taught through distance education with faculty able to begin coursework in December.
All Winter Session classes must end by January 21. Courses will be selected for the pilot program based upon five criteria: they must demonstrate high student demand, be appropriate for distance education delivery, meet general education requirements, be effectively delivered in a condensed format and help students meet degree requirements in a timely fashion.
Faculty are currently being asked to submit course proposals as they would for Summer Session. A class schedule will be available by late August and registration will take place between November 25 and December 12, with a late registration date of December 20.
Kowalik said the pilot will offer a great opportunity for students. “We’re hearing what students are saying,” he said. “They want more flexibility and the option to go year-round. They’re less wedded to traditional terms and this will give them another option. It’s one more way our institution can show its responsiveness to the needs of our students.”
“It’s a pilot because we want to assure ourselves that the learning we want can happen,” Swain said.
And with increased accessibility to Binghamton University, Kowalik said that Winter Session “will deliver excellence in another format.”