Reviews Are in on New Intensive Course Format

iStudent Blog

If you’re thinking about taking one of the seven-week intensive classes being offered this fall, you might be interested in the experience of students who took the classes – and the instructors who taught them – when they were offered for the first time during the Spring 2013 semester.

I chatted with a handful of students and instructors, and some of the people I talked to really liked the intensive course format. One student, who works part time while raising a family, said the intensives allowed her to complete two classes in one semester while only having to juggle one class at a time. Although the workload was doubled, keeping track of the assignments was simplified by only having one class at a time to focus on.

For other students, the fast pace was stressful. They said they preferred the slower pace of a regular semester-long class, giving them more time to complete assignments and reflect on what they were learning.

Dr. Sue Alman explained that in her intensive course, the amount of work normally required in a one-week module must be completed in three days. “For many students, the compressed time frame enhances the learning experience because there is less time to become distracted and lose focus on the subject matter,” Alman said.

Kelly Whalen, a student who took Dr. Debra Hansen’s LIBR 200 course in an intensive format, said she plans to take another intensive. “I like the idea of being able to get through the material faster and feel like I am able to be more efficient with my time,” she said.

The overall impression I got from my discussions with students is that intensives aren’t for everyone, but can be a great option for highly organized students who want extra flexibility in scheduling their classes.

By the way, some students mentioned that when registering for classes, it wasn’t clear whether a course section was offered in the intensive format. Be sure when you’re selecting your classes for fall that you’re signing up for the format you want.

Dr. Linda Main, the School’s associate director, offers some advice about this in her SLIS21 blog post on Intensives in Fall 2013. She points out that intensive classes “are marked as intensives in the notes section of the schedule and the dates are also listed.

You might also want to read an article on our School’s website, where we share more examples about student and instructor perspectives on spring intensives.

If you took an intensive last semester, what was your experience like? Feel free to tell us about it in the Comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!