By Tori Gushea, August 2015
Eight week courses have the ability to be deceiving. By design, an eight week course can give the student the false sense that a class is easier because it is shorter. This fallacy falls in line with the old adage of “more is harder and less is easier”, “more pressure means more pain” but “less course work means an easier course”. On the contrary, all of these assumptions could not be any further from the truth, including the one that alludes to an eight week course being easier because it is shorter than the traditional semester course. The fact of the matter is that the eight week course is just as difficult as the full length semester course with just as much work and equal amount of expectations by the professors. The key to surviving the eight week course is having good time management skills!
Map out the course requirements relative to your daily life
When a student enrolls in any eight week course, in online or on ground classrooms, the student should expect that a lot of material will be covered in a short amount of time. The most important approach to this material is knowledge. As soon as the course syllabus is available, the student should look at it thoroughly and see how the required work fits in to their daily life. For the non-traditional student, this means comparing the syllabus and major project deadlines to real life and what work related or family related deadlines are coming up. If in the sixth week of class there is a 10 page paper due and in that same time frame your employer is expecting a major report to be submitted, one (or both) of those projects should be started early to be able to meet the deadlines. Mapping out the course requirements relative to your daily life at the beginning of the course will afford ample opportunity to be successful.
For the day to day life of the eight week class, it is essential to stay on top of the course work and remain focused.
The syllabus maps out the requirements for each week and the student has the ability to plan. The classes tend to have a requirement of a discussion forum with initial postings required by Wednesday and additional posts by the end of the week. The best decision of the student is to see what time frame is available for completing these requirements and scheduling them in to their day. A great deal of work needs to be managed in any college course regardless of the length of class. It would not be considered a higher education course otherwise. With this is mind, if the student stays informed, knows the expectations of the course and incorporates them, ahead of time, into their daily life and plans accordingly, the student will have the perfect recipe for success in an eight week course!
About the Author
Tori Gushea has spent 13 years caring for high risk obstetrical patients and an additional 2 years managing combined Pediatrics and Obstetrical units. She has a love for learning and enjoys teaching through peer support, and in her role as staff orienteer.