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WSCC converts to 8-week sessions

Classes will look a little different at Washington State Community College starting this fall.

It was announced Wednesday that the 16-week sessions students have had will be converted to 8-week sessions.

Dean of Student Success Kathy Temple-Miller said the classes will be redesigned for greater flexibility.

“There has been a careful redesign of all of the college’s coursework,” she said.

Depending on the course, students can take the option to attend classes on campus, but classes will be offered online. The redesign will take into consideration the amount of time needed for the class, the technology involved and the delivery of the course.

She said for those getting financial assistance, nothing will change, payment-wise.

“It’s still a 16-week semester, but we’re calling them 8-week sessions,” Temple-Miller said. “It’s still the same financial payment.”

This isn’t the first time WSCC has offered 8-week sessions. The college started with a few courses in 2018 and has worked to conform each course into an 8-week delivery format.

Vice-President of Academic Affairs Sarah Parker said in the announcement that WSCC is calling the transition Focus to Finish and it’s backed by national research that shows students perform better academically when they can focus on fewer classes at a time.

There are several benefits to the change, the announcement noted.

¯ College officials said the change is expected to improve student grades and increase graduation rates, as well as provide more enrollment opportunities for adults who are juggling work, family, and other responsibilities.

¯ In a traditional 16-week semester, full-time students would take four or five classes at the same time. But with Focus to Finish, they will focus on only two or three classes each session. At the end of the two sessions, the students will have completed the same number of credits and in some cases more.

“There’s also evidence that shorter sessions result in fewer dropped courses and lower absentee rates, which means students stay on track and graduate on time,” Parker said in the announcement.

She said this change is one more way WSCC is strengthening support for its students. The research reveals that students maintain better focus and excel during shorter sessions, leading to less burnout and students will avoid feeling overwhelmed by the demands that come with managing four or five courses at once.

WSCC fall registration begins April 4. For information bout Focus to Finish, contact the admissions office at 740-568-1900 or visit wscc.edu/8-week-classes.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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