New class structures strive for flexibility

More scheduling options are available in the summer and during semesters.

Temple has implemented a new summer session structure, consisting of classes being available in three different sessions, which are further broken up into one 12-week session, two six-week sessions and three four-week sessions.

The new summer-session structure was implemented after an update to Self-Service Banner allowed for the changes, with the first four-week summer session course starting May 11 and ending June 5.

“We think the first session will be especially popular with students and faculty,” said Vicki Lewis McGarvey, vice provost for Temple’s University College, which oversees the summer school and digital campus programs. McGarvey cited the flexibility the first four-week course had with those who had summer jobs by ending in the first week of June.

“When you’re offering more options, it’s easier for [students] to pick up classes,” she said.

Linn Washington, a journalism professor who teaches during the summer, agreed with McGarvey.

“If it gives students a better opportunity to complete summer work and still have enough summer left to do some jobs and get some income, that would be good,” Washington said.

“The first summer session ends around the beginning of June, so that will enable students to be more competitive for those very-needed student jobs,” he added.

Sophomore business management major Eric Eccleston said he would take a four-week class.

“I love the four-week sessions – that’s a really good thing,” Eccleston said. “For people with a tight schedule with work and other commitments like vacations, it gives them a better opportunity than just the six-week sessions.”

Washington, who teaches during the summer said the faculty would benefit from the changes.

“It will help the faculty by giving us a little more summertime,” Washington said. “Maybe I’ll get to play with my grandkids at the beach.”

“I like the idea,” freshman communication studies major David Wells said of the new summer classes. “I think they’re an opportunity to learn a lot more in the time you’re given here.”

McGarvey also said that starting in the Fall 2015 semester, the new Self-Service Banner update would allow Temple to offer two seven-week course sessions alongside one 14-week course session. She added that Temple does not expect many undergraduates to utilize the new seven-week course session during the semester, and that it will be mainly geared more towards graduate-student programs.

McGarvey said the idea for shortened courses has already been discussed in different committees at Temple in the past.

“It’s not a new idea,” said McGarvey. “We’ve never restricted colleges and schools from offering an abbreviated course session. [Self-Service] Banner just wasn’t conducive to it in the past.”

McGarvey cited problems with Self-Service Banner’s add-drop dates and other programming that didn’t allow for shorter course sessions in past years. She added that demand from science professors due to course workload led to the creation of the 12-week session during the summer.

“There were many science classes that wanted 12-week sessions,” McGarvey said. “Before, if you wanted to take a class for 12 weeks, you would have to take an incomplete for the first session. The [Self-Service Banner] system made it difficult.”

Christian Matozzo can be reached at

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