Feature Jordyn Bradley Sep 24, 2018 Uncategorized

Students react to schedule changes


The new scheduling system – which added 10 minutes onto the end of every class period — is a change to students and faculty members alike.

“I just think most of the start and stop times are wonky now. I find it harder to keep track of when my classes are because of the 10-minute shift,” said Bridget McCaffrey (’21).

According to Associate Provost Britt Cartrite, the 10 minutes added to each class was strategically placed to limit as much disruption for students and staff as possible.

“Because Alma is on a 4-4-1 schedule (we have the spring term and our classes are 4 credit courses), everyone has started to become more sensitive about contact time, which is the amount of time students are spending with professors in class.”

Each student is meant to spend two to three hours of time out of class studying and working on school work for every credit a class is worth according to the student handbook as well as each course syllabus.

For example, if a student takes a four-credit class, that student is meant to spend 8-12 hours a week working on homework or studying for that class alone, outside of the work done in class.

These standards are formulated by the Department of Education to decide how much in class and out of class work necessary to merit one credit.

A model the college tossed around along with the idea of adding 10 minutes to each class period was the idea of lengthening the calendar. Though starting the fall semester before Labor Day would put Alma in line with many other colleges across the board, extending the calendar would be tricky in the winter.

When factoring in Winter recess, a week off for winter break, spring term, and needing to be out of school before Memorial Day for the Highland Festival, extending the calendar could not work.

Therefore, adding ten minutes to the schedule was the idea that seemed to make the most sense. “The least disruptive thing to do would be to keep our 4-4-1 schedule, keep our 4 credit courses and keep our calendars the same, and simply add ten minutes to each class period,” said Cartrite.

“I don’t really have an issue with the class times being lengthened, although it has been an adjustment. When they lengthened class times they also moved around when certain classes are offered. For me this has worked to my benefit, but for some of my friends, their classes are very spaced in turn making them very unsatisfied with their schedule,” said Mackenzie Hemmer (‘21).

Now that some classes start at 8 a.m. rather than 8:30 a.m., adjustments have been made there, as well. “Even though classes start at 8 [in the morning], Saga does not open until 7:30 a.m., and the line goes all the way past Newberry. People with class at eight have to eat in like ten minutes,” said Nolan Kukla (’21).

Studies show that better work will be achieved if breaks are given. “It wouldn’t be too bad if, during the 1.5 hour classes, teachers had to give us a 5-10 minute break. I have a professor who does that in [one of my classes] and it helps immensely,” said Carolina Regan (‘20).

Yes, the scheduling changes are changes to get used to, but in the end, it is only 10 minutes, versus adding days to the overall calendar. “[The changes] threw me off to begin with, but I am slowly getting used to them,” said Dana Aspinall, English professor.

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