Summer Session Planning – Upcoming Student Survey and Outline of Key Dates

 The Office of the Provost will send an electronic survey to all active students on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 to gather some input about student preferences for the summer session. Results will be shared with Department Chairs, Associate Deans, and Deans by mid-November. Survey results will hopefully aid in decision-making as the tentative schedule of summer courses is developed.

The plan is once again to post the full schedule of summer session courses on the web on January 24, 2018. Additional details about the deadlines for summer session course schedules will be provided from the Dean’s Office in each college. Registration for summer courses will still start the first day after spring break (Monday, March 12, 2018). Here’s the full calendar of summer session planning activities.

The student survey will be conducted via Qualtrics. It’s a 15-item survey with an estimated completion time of four minutes. Some of the questions on the survey ask students to report their level of interest in attending the summer session, what their reasons for taking summer courses are, what time of day is preferred for classes, if online courses are desired, whether general education or courses in the major are preferred, and which subject disciplines students are interested in seeing on the schedule.

While results this year may be different, a look back at prior surveys done might be instructive as we look ahead to planning this summer’s schedule.

Student surveys we did in 2014 and 2015 showed that juniors make up the largest percentage of the group with interest in taking summer courses, followed by seniors. The three leading reasons students selected for taking summer courses were (1) to get caught up in order to be able to graduate on time, (2) to take a course they hadn’t been able to schedule in the fall/spring semester, and (3) to get ahead in order to be able to graduate sooner.

Students expressed far more interest in taking courses in their major than in taking general education courses. Forty-five percent of the responses stated that taking “courses in my major/degree program” was the area of greatest interest, about double the number of responses for taking a general education course.

Not surprisingly, prior surveys rated 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. as the two most popular times for taking a class. Taking a course online was the third most popular option. Despite those responses, it’s important to recognize that different students have needs that may not always show up on surveys. Some students, with summer jobs, might value the option to take an 8 a.m. class while some non-traditional students might appreciate the option to take a class in the later afternoon or evening.

We will again be working with Malcolm Holmes in the University Marketing Department to identify effective strategies for getting the word out about our summer session opportunities. These planning activities will occur in January. If you have suggestions, please send them my way (jmorello@umw.edu). We have some ideas but are interested in any other input you’d care to share.

It’s our hope that the strategies outlined above will help enable us to produce the strongest possible set of summer session offerings for summer 2018. And, to echo the summer session “tag line” we’ve been using, we hope to see a strong number of students coming to campus to: “Catch Up. Get Ahead. Take Something New.”

 

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