TJC considers block classes as possibilty

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Within the next few semesters, Tyler Junior College may do away with traditional scheduling and present the students with block scheduling. “This proposal was designed with the students in mind,” Interim Dean of University Studies Shelley Caraway said. Block scheduling will reduce the number of days a student has to go to school in order to be full-time. Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes will become Monday-Wednesday classes and be the same length of time as a current Tuesday-Thursday classes. “With the elimination of a MWF, we could now add Friday-Saturday classes,” Caraway said. “A student could not come to school during the week and only go to school during the weekend.”The proposal was supposed to be approved and put into effect for the upcoming fall semester. However, it was delayed in order to receive more student feedback.”I hope the students will respond to administration,” Caraway said. “The students could write a letter if they wanted to. Maybe the Student Government Association can do some surveys.”Freshman Class President Phillip Bruno said the delay in the decision-making process has been very positive.”They need to try to do more research and see what the students want,” he said. Bruno said the plan itself was not the problem; it was how the situation was handled.”The deans came to Student Senate and told us about the block scheduling,” he said. “They then said the approval meeting was the next day. There needs to be better communication between the faculty, staff, deans and students because having us find out at the last minute and then tell you guys at the last minute doesn’t work. If you do not involve the students, you are going to meet resistance.”Bruno said Student Senate made the effort to inform as many organizations as they could.”Myself and several of my colleagues went to different organizations to explain and clarify the details of the proposal with hopes that they could spread the word to their members,” he said. Although he was informed at the last minute, Bruno said the proposal is still beneficial to the students.”When a Friday-Saturday block opens up, there will be a consistent work week for non-traditional students such as single parents, or students who have to work on paying for an apartment,” he said. “This will allow for more Monday through Thursday classes to open up for the traditional students. It creates space for the students and we don’t have to worry about classes filling up.”TJC student Karita Collier said she would rather keep her traditional MWF classes instead of converting to block scheduling. “Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes are only 50 minutes long,” she said. “You have my attention; you can get in and get out and be done by 12. You can take a lot more classes and then you could do all of your work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”Collier said block scheduling would make her have class every day during the week.”I don’t want to go to school all day long so I would have to take both MW classes along with TR classes,” she said. Collier said creating a work schedule would be difficult without the option of MWF classes.”It’s a lot easier to schedule a work week when you are done with all of your classes at 12,” she said. “You have to whole day to work instead of having to take of two days off out of the week.” Collier said that although she is not in favor of the block scheduling, she will still support whichever decision that will benefit TJC.”If it happens it happens, people still have to go to school,” she said. “The fact that they are not doing it this semester makes me happy. They should get the student’s say since we are the ones who have to pay for school.”No matter what happens, Collier said she will never take classes on the weekend.”Saturdays are like my free days,” she said. “I would take all Internet classes before I go to school on a Saturday. Next they will be trying to make us go to school on Sundays.”Caraway said she definitely believes that block scheduling is definitely beneficial for the students.”If a student goes to school two days a week then that will give them five additional work days,” she said. “It could cut daycare cost by a third, eliminate stress and the new 15-minute transitional period would allow for the students to move more uniformly. Plus 90 percent of our students are commuters, so this would help them out a lot as well.”Caraway said the new block scheduling will also be beneficial to teachers as well.”I have talked to some faculty and they are all for it,” she said. “Teachers need a longer block to explain certain materials. This would also give all the students equal test taking times. And the student’s schedule, along with the teacher’s will start at the same time every day instead of 9 a.m. MWF and 9:15 TR.”Caraway said she is sure the time frame of two-day classes is what concerns the students the most.”I have been hearing a lot of complaints about how the students feel as if they cannot sit through a class for an hour and a half,” she said. “There are many solutions such as a hybrid course where you can go to a class only on Fridays and do the rest of the work online.”Caraway said there have also been problems with a student’s motivation to attend a Friday morning class.”On Friday mornings, how many times does a student hit the snooze button,” she said. “Some students windup not going to class at all because they have the mentality of ‘it’s only a 50 minute class so I can miss it.'”Bruno said that some students would just rather take three 50-minute classes than two one hour and a half classes.”It’s just a preference thing,” he said. “It’s not that students can’t sit through a one hour and a half class; it’s just that they don’t want to.”Caraway said that the talk of block scheduling is nothing new. She said other schools have been using this type of scheduling for years.”Angelina College has been doing it for 20 years and Northeast Texas has been doing it for 20 years,” she said. “The students and faculty really like this type of scheduling.”Caraway said she can only hope that the students try to be open-minded about the idea.”I want the students to look at what’s best for them,” she said. “A lot of student organizations and faculty members have been discussing it in class. I want the students to be open to change, although I know it’s difficult and change can be hard.”

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