Keys to Student Success: Is Short Session II a Good Option for You?

Online institutions of higher education tend to offer multiple class formats in order to fit the needs of their non-traditional student base. Some schools may require you to choose one format over the other, while others allow you to mix long and shorter classes at once.


eCore and eMajor courses are offered in Full Session formats, consisting of 16 weeks of instruction, as well as two 8 week Short Sessions in both the Fall and Spring Semesters. Students at affiliate institutions are able to register for any combination of Full Session, Short Session I, and/or Short Session II courses. While mixing class schedules can be convenient, it can also be a recipe for disaster if you’re not prepared.  Unprepared students who register for Short Session II courses have a significantly higher chance of getting behind and performing poorly in the course.


Here are 5 signs that an eCore or eMajor Short Session II course may NOT be for you.


1. You have never taken an accelerated course before.
Accelerated classes are just that – accelerated. With just eight weeks of instruction, it can seem like it’s time for your midterm just a few weeks after the start of class. With less time in the session, it can be very easy to get behind and even harder to catch up if you do. The stresses of starting an accelerated course in the middle of the semester can make it difficult for some students to maintain the pace required to be successful in a Short Session course. If you have never taken an accelerated course before, it is a good idea to “get your feet wet” with a Short Session I course, which starts at the same time as regular Full Session courses.
2. You have never taken an online course before.
Some students jump right into online learning with ease, while others take more time to become familiar with their new environment. You know yourself and your comfort level with technology. If you are completely new to online learning and think you may need more time to get the hang of it, a full session course may be a better option for you, as there is more time within the term to familiarize yourself with your new virtual classroom.


3.   You have scheduled your classes for mostly Full Session or semester-long courses.
Students who perform best in Short Session II courses are on a schedule where they take ONLY Short Session courses. These students are already in the mindset of accelerated classes, and have completed their Short Session I courses prior to starting their Short Session II courses. If you are taking mostly Full Session courses, it can be hard to add an additional class in the middle of the semester when that “beginning of class” energy may have subsided.


4.   You are attempting to add the class “last minute” in the middle of the regular semester.
You may find yourself at the beginning of the semester, and the class you need is already full. In that case, you may have no other option than to register for the course in Short Session II. In this scenario, you have registered for the class at the beginning of the semester and have a whole 8 weeks to make sure you are prepared for the start of class, which is great. However, if you are considering adding a Short Session II course during the short registration window that opens up in the middle of the semester, consider the time you’ll need to get prepared for the course which includes acquiring any necessary textbooks and materials. Remember, it’s easy to get behind in accelerated courses, so if you’re not able to start the class prepared it may be best to wait and take the class at a later time.


5.   You do not have strong time management skills.
This is true for any online course, but especially for those on an accelerated schedule. Taking a class online means you do not have a “time” to be in class. To stay on track, it is important that you manage your time well, and assign specific blocks of your day to work on assignments for the class. Failing to do so may leave you in a situation where you are several weeks into the class and struggling to make up coursework before the midterm. You know yourself – if you’re not good with time management but need an online class to fit your schedule, then a Full Session course is your best bet. The full 16 week schedule gives you much more time to “catch up” if you happen to get off schedule and fall behind.


Despite your best efforts to plan ahead, there are some instances when a student finds him or herself with no other option but to add a Short Session II course, sometimes at the last minute. In that case, there are things you can do to improve your chances of success in the course. Be sure to get your book (if one is required) before class begins. You can also login before the first day of class to access the eConnection, a tutorial class where you can practice making discussion postings and familiarize yourself with the virtual “classroom”. You should login to the course on the first day of class, pay special attention to due dates in the course, and make a plan to stay on schedule. A little bit of pre-planning at the beginning of the course can go a long way to helping you get to that “A”!
 
For questions about registering for eCore and eMajor courses at your institution, please visit the eCore and eMajor Institutions pages to contact the liaison at your school. Your academic advisor is also a great resource for questions about what classes are right for you.

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