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Why Are Classes Longer This Year?

Why Are Classes Longer This Year?

The past couple of years have brought a lot of change to academia, and this year is no exception. But while it was clear why LMU went remote during the pandemic, it is far less clear why all four-credit courses are suddenly 10 minutes longer per week.

“The expanded 10 minutes for four credit/unit classes is to better align expectations around federal guidelines on Credit Hour that is reviewed by our accreditor, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC),” said Dr. José Badenes, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education in an email.

Accreditation is described by WSCUC as “benefitting an institution to meet standards of quality and effectiveness,” which provides students with a way to have more access to federal financial aid. LMU’s Credit Hour Policy requires one credit hour to meet for at least one hour of instruction and for students to have two hours worth of out-of-class work. The work and time then increase based on the amount of credit.

“The expectation is that for every one credit that is awarded for a course, the class meets for at least one hour,” said Dr. José Badenes in an email. “So, for a three-credit course, a course would meet with an instructor 150 minutes per week in a 15-week semester for traditional lecture-based courses. And for four-credit courses, a course would meet 200 minutes, which would be one hour and 40 minutes, twice a week.”

This decision allows WSCUC’s credit policy standards to be utilized as expected. But now, students have to navigate through this adjustment.

Five weeks into the fall semester, students continue to struggle with the change of pace in their day to day schedules. 

“I think my 9:25 should be my 9:30 [class] and oftentimes my professors don’t even really utilize the extra five, 10 minutes too much,” said Alyssa Salehpour, a sophomore psychology major. “I think it really depends on the professor and how they utilize it for discussion-based classes or very heavy lecture. I could see it being good but I don’t see the need of it all.” 

Professors who are yet to enforce the change instead use the time for a class break or even let students out early. The 10 minutes can also come across as being more than enough time depending on the class. 

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“I think it’s nice that we get that 10 extra minutes to talk about the things we talk about in class,” said Tanya Rasheesa, a sophomore English major. “And sometimes we go over a bit, which you know, that 10 minutes at the end definitely helps with that.”

Professors and students are still adjusting to this change — but some of them do not mind the additional time. If it is needed, it is there; if the class is done for the day, then the extra time is not needed.

“Sometimes it works out that I can use the time for something important,” said Professor of Communication Studies Dean Scheibel. “It doesn’t really make much difference to me.”

Photo: Isabel Minaglia

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