Two Mondays is Better Than One…Right?

Jennifer JohnsonBy: Jennifer Johnson

Worcester, MA: Worcester State University has come up with a creative way to combat time lost to cancellations and delays caused by severe weather and record-breaking snowfall across the state this winter.

Next week, the schedule will operate on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule.

Don’t worry – you read that right. The typical Wednesday schedule of Mar. 4, 2015 will be replaced by a Monday schedule in an attempt to give Monday classes a chance to catch up on missed assignments and content.

According to an email sent to all students by Interim Provost David Caruso, excessive snowfall resulted in the loss of two Mondays from the day schedule and three Mondays from the evening schedule.

girl“The snow days were fun at first, but now my classes are so behind we just keep getting slammed with work as a result of professors trying to catch up,” said Emily O’Callaghan. “It’s kind of ridiculous.”

O’Callaghan, a sophomore criminal justice major, is among a number of students that found the snow days fun before they realized just how much catching up they’d have to do once the cancellations finally stopped.

“I just wish we had been able to space it out, even if that meant doing stuff online for a while,” said O’Callaghan.

The regularity of snowfall this season – approximately one storm a week since winter break ended – and the resultant cancellations have made it difficult for many professors to stay on track.

With so many school closings, professors find they are behind their planned schedule and are struggling to catch up.

Dr. Patricia Benjamin, head of the Earth, Environment, and Physics Department experimented with the use of online discussions and assignments to make up for the missed classes.

“I personally do not teach any online classes, but it seems to me that if we were missing all these days of the semester we either were going to have to cut out a huge chunk of the curriculum, or find some other way to do it,” said Benjamin. “So I chose to try and figure out a way to get you guys to do it anyways by setting up online assignments.”

Administration also distributed a list of suggestions on how to catch up, which included posting discussions on Blackboard, scheduling extra class times for Monday/Wednesday classes, and holding class an extra five minutes to make up for lost time.

Dr. Lisa Boehm, Interim Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences compiled the list with input from professors.

“Professors have been using these ideas, and many we have not thought of, to make sure the material is being covered in class. For many classes, though, all the creativity in the world cannot make up for the lost time together,” said Boehm.  “For instance, in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, we have classes in art, theater, and music. Hard as she was trying, Professor Stacey Parker needed more class time for her students working on sculptures in the studio. This additional Monday meeting will mean the world to those students, who need the time to work.”

Professors and students alike are frustrated with the closings, worrying about whether they will be able to cover all the required content during this truncated term.

Marissa Avanzato, a junior communications major, commented on the upcoming schedule change.

“I have a 3 hour photography class every Monday, and we can take photos without being in class, but in order to really learn what good technique is, we really need to have class,” said Avanzato. “I don’t like giving up my day off, but it’s necessary to catch up in the class.”

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