by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesey of pexels.com
By now, everybody has heard about it: This year Aquinas College is offering classes
during winter break. The classes run from December 7 to January 8, with a break from
December 23 to January 3.
My own first reaction was to jump for joy. I am an art major currently studying
ceramics—learning how to throw clay on the wheel—and it is crucial for me to practice on a regular basis. I had been dreading that I might forget over winter the skills I am learning in fall, and the first mention of a winter term gave me hope that I might sign up for a ceramics class—even if it meant an independent study—thereby getting access to the studio for an extra month. But those hopes were quickly squashed: The term will be entirely remote, with all classes online.
I looked up the list of classes on offer, and though it was short, it still seemed to have something for everyone. In my case, there is one class that counts toward my major— AT211 Beginning Digital Photography—but I had already signed up to take that class in spring.
I read the rest of the list and spotted three other classes that I have already taken in our normal face-to-face format: GE 101 Inquiry & Expression, CN 206 Interpersonal
Communication, and EH 225 Literature and Motion Pictures. I spent some time trying to imagine what they would feel like online in winter. Checking out the posters for the GE 101 and the EH 225 in the Academic Building helped me perform my thought experiment. I ended up concluding that the winter term classes would be different, but—based on my positive experience in the face-to-face version—that I would have equally enjoyed these classes if I took them now.
That said, it would be a good idea to keep in mind the intense format. Any of these
classes would cover 15 weeks’ worth of material in three weeks’ time, which should feel like taking a normal full-time load of five classes. Also, you wouldn’t get a break to catch your breath before it starts, as Fall finals end on December 4 and Winter classes start on December 7.
The other concern is cost. The winter session would work like summers, where
Aquinas scholarships and aid do not apply. Some federal loan dollars might be available, but we would have to contact the Financial Aid Office on a case-by-case basis to find out about that.
I did some research about the short, intense format and found one school—Colorado
College—that runs exclusively on such classes. This suggests the format itself must be
manageable. Of course, some people would do better in a normal-paced class, while others would do better in this faster form; the winter term means we get a new option that we did not have before—and more options is always a good thing.
But as for myself, I just signed up to take a winter class at a local pottery studio—I’ll be
paying tuition out of pocket and yet not earn any college credit, but at least I’ll get on a wheel five days a week.