Summer classes: Learning “by immersion”
By Kelsey Hoff
The first session of classes for summer 2012 are well under way at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with two more to go (the next summer session starts June 18, the last session on July 16). While their colleagues are taking a break from the university setting, both students and faculty involved in the summer schedule are experiencing learning by immersion during the courses, some of which last four while other are eight weeks in length.
Student Saul Blom, an applied health sciences and biology major, is taking mammalian physiology as one of his two courses this session. Meeting three times a week, he said the intensive one hour and 40 minute classes will allow him to better retain what he learns.
"When you block it like that, you learn more. [The knowledge] sticks," he said.
Blom added one of his reasons for taking this particular course this summer is that it is being taught by Dr. Bryan Lewis.
Student Diana Burdette, a junior in pre-veterinary, is taking two math classes this summer.
"I'll be happy after the month is over," she said explaining that the classes can be stressful and homework-intensive.
Faculty member Denise Widup, who is teaching Survey of Mathematics and College Algebra II this summer, understands the intensity students feel.
"This is mathematics by immersion!" Widup said. "I think these four week courses are best for students who have had the material before, either in high school or in a previous semester here at UW-Parkside. They have seen everything before and just need to improve their skills with these topics.
"It is a lot of work to learn all of this material in just four weeks," she added. "I think the best part is that there isn't any time to forget the material, either."
Mark Bilbrey is teaching Fundamentals of English, his first summer course at UW-Parkside. He said the small size of the class allows for individual attention and the diversity of the class promises interesting discussions.
"We've already...created a fertile environment for dialogue and intellectual exploration," Bilbrey said. His goal is to maintain students' focus and momentum, which he believes is nearly impossible during a full-length semester.
"My only concern is whether my students--composition students--will really get the same level of immersion and training in writing as they would over a longer semester," he said.Students planning to take summer classes starting June 18 and/or July 16 are advised to register early and attend every class. Summer classes are a fast ride!