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Reflecting on the first 15-week semester

December 6, 2017

At the start of the Fall 2017 semester, the University of Toledo implemented a switch from a 16-week to a 15-week semester.

According the UT Faculty Senate, where the idea originated, the aim of altering UT’s calendar was to improve degree time, align with other four-year institutions, expand time for students to strengthen finances and enhance opportunity for faculty research and scholarship.

A number of surrounding schools also have a 15-week semester, including Ohio State University, Miami University, Ohio University and Cleveland State University. However, a majority of these schools do not have a fall break.

Back when Faculty Senate discussed the idea, the possibility of not having a fall break and a change in the amount of time students spent in class was considered.

The IC wrote an article in December 2016 stating, “…if UT switches to shorter semesters, it is possible that class times will switch from 50 minutes to 55 minutes and 75 minutes to 80 minutes. This way, students will still spend roughly the same amount of time in classes.”

After spending a semester in this new system, we have mixed feelings about the schedule change.

The loss of one week of classes hasn’t seemed to affect the amount of material covered in classes. With the change in class times, professors have an hour and 20 minutes to teach instead of the previous one hour and 15 minutes.

But does 10 extra minutes of class time each week make up for an extra week of classes?

Including more minutes into a class period is different than having a separate class. Professors usually talk about new information on a new day. The loss of two potential class days means the loss of education.

Some students are experiencing professors who let students out early due to the extra five minutes. After spending a few years teaching on the hour and 15-minute schedule, it's hard to transition to fit more material into a class period that has already been through the system a few times.

In addition, we really don’t understand why the addition of five more minutes constitutes such weird class times. Many classes start at five minutes until the hour or even at 35 minutes into the hour.

These weird class times led to confusing schedules for students.

It was easy to think about what time to leave home, find a parking spot and get to class when the class started on the hour or half-hour.

Within the last four years, UT has gone from classes at an hour and 40 minutes, to one and 15, and then to one and 20. The constant shift in the amount of time spent in class and the schedule of classes is annoying to students and professors.

At the very least, move the classes back to starting on the hour.

Make our lives a little bit easier. We are spending a lot of time here and a pretty penny to do so. It’s always nice to hear the Bell Tower playing while you’re running late to cla

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