To give students the chance to catch up or get ahead in their studies over winter break, the college will be offering 20 three-credit online courses.
Between Dec. 27 and Jan. 17, students enrolled in these courses will have the opportunity to gain a semester’s worth of class credit in three weeks.
In developing the schedule of classes for the winter session, campus faculty, in conjunction with the Office of Extended Learning, gathered information about course popularity and enrollment, among other criteria.
“Winter session was developed to help our students graduate on time, so we put a special focus on offering courses that could help students overcome ‘bottlenecks’ — not getting into classes needed to graduate,” SUNY New Paltz Provost Philip Mauceri said. “Most of our offerings this winter are general education courses that are often over-enrolled.”
The school’s first trial with a winter session was with four courses last year.
“Last year was the first time we had a winter session — all [which] filled quickly, requiring us to add additional sections,” Provost Mauceri said. “This year we are offering 20 classes, almost all of which [were] full or close to full by the end of the first week of registration.”
According to President Donald Christian, these online courses are designed to benefit both SUNY New Paltz students as well as students on other campuses.
“Our goal here is not to drift away from being a residential campus, but to the degree that we could help students progress academically in a faster way,” he said. “We are also looking at ways that we can offer online courses that might help transfer students at community colleges that would ultimately come here.”
Although last year’s winter session was a “test run” according to President Christian, the quality of the three-week courses matched that of a full semester class.
Second-year painting major Erica Melville took ‘Art of the Western World’ as a winter course last year and overall, she said she was very pleased.
“I think the workload ended up being about a week’s worth of class every weekday, some days less,” she said. “I know a week’s worth of work every day sounds like a ton but it wasn’t really that bad — I would do it again if there was a class I needed available.”