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Scottsdale Community College Scottsdale Community College Library

Eight week courses: Other Studies

A guide to research related to compressed schedules in academia.

Studies from other types of institutions (not community college)

Accelerated Online Courses: New Strategies for Successful Learning
Discusses strategies students need to be successful in accelerated formats.
 
An Empirical Assessment of Cooperative Groups in Large, Time-compressed, Introductory Courses
We measured student knowledge and motivation at the beginning and end of a three-week general psychology course. Two large lecture sections (N = 215 and N = 154) were compared; one used a cooperative learning process, and one did not. Student knowledge significantly improved in both sections, but there was no additional benefit derived from using cooperative learning. Interestingly, student motivation significantly decreased in the cooperative learning section. With recognition of the study’s limitations, we conclude that cooperative learning has limited efficacy in large enrollment, compressed courses.
 
An Evaluation of the Compressed-course Format for Instruction in Accounting
Although "compressed-course" offerings are widely found in summer programs and intersessions, little published work has evaluated the efficacy of this format relative to conventional term courses, apparently because the controls necessary for strict comparative research are difficult to implement. This study involved such a comparison between several sections of two accounting courses offered under the most compressed format possible and under a regular semester. All aspects of the courses were virtually identical. Evaluation was in terms of (a) terminal performance, (b) post-course student reactions, and (c) comparison of reactions with prior expectations. Analysis of the data showed the compressed format to be highly comparable to the regular format on both performance and student evaluation profiles. The only differences, both marginal, were in the tendency for perceived stress and instructor effectiveness to be greater under the compressed format. Given the rigor of the experimental controls and the power of the statistical tests used, these findings constitute strong evidence of the efficacy of compressed courses.
 
An Investigation into Graduate Student Preference for Compressed Courses
Traditionally, universities use either the semester or quarter systems with shorter-length courses in the summer. Increasingly universities are now experimenting with compressed courses as part of the normal semester. Compressed courses can help students by giving them fewer courses to concentrate on at a time in a more intensive format. Compressed courses also assist students in course scheduling and sequencing where prerequisites are present. There have been several studies pertaining to course length and student outcomes with most studies showing the same or increased student outcomes for compressed courses. The focus of this study is on graduate student's preferences for regular semester based compressed courses. This study used Master of Business Administration (MBA)-level courses where classes met six hours a week for either the first or second half of each 15-week semester. Data was collected from 846 students from 57 compressed MBA courses that were surveyed between 2009 and 2015. The results of the survey were very positive for the compressed courses. The average student felt that they learned the same or more in compressed courses preferred the pace and would rather take a compressed course than a full-length semester course. Open-ended questions for students that preferred compressed courses mentioned completion and time management, scheduling, retention of material and an enhanced learning experience. Those that favored the traditional-length courses emphasized that they needed more time for the material to sink in, more time for class projects and research, and that dealing with unexpected life happenings were more difficult in compressed courses.
 
Comparing the Rigor of Compressed Format Courses to Their Regular Semester Counterparts
This study compared workloads of undergraduate courses taught in 16-week and 8-week sessions. A statistically significant difference in workload was found between the two. Based on survey data from approximately 29,000 students, on average students spent about 17 minutes more per credit per week on 16-week courses than on similar 8-week courses. For selected general education courses taught in both formats, a similar result was obtained. When disaggregating results by subject and instructor, we found that the subject and the instructor of the course are more likely to be the cause of any significant difference in rigor based on workload.
 
Comparison of Workload for University Core Courses Taught in Regular Semester and Time-compressed Term Formats
This study compared student workload and perceived value of coursework assigned for a matching set of semester and term general education courses at Brigham Young University. Statistically significant differences in workloads were found between most semester and term courses. While term workloads were slightly lighter in general, both could be called “university lite,” in that students did not spend the expected two hours outside of class per hour in class. Math and physics courses came closest to meeting the expected workloads, which tended to remain constant between semesters and terms. Differences in the value students reported for homework varied significantly by the autonomy of the instructor to adapt his own course section. Some of the curricular differences between sessions might be attributed to efficiencies instructors incorporated for shorter sessions without affecting overall course quality. Typically, reading- and writing-intensive courses showed the most negative impact when offered in a term format. The findings from this study suggest that, while some subjects lend themselves well to a compressed-time format, not all courses are suited to being taught in this way.
 
Compressed-format Compared to Regular-format in a First-year University Course
We have compared student performance in two sessions of a large first-year university physics course, one with a normal 12-week term and the other with a compressed 6-week term. Student performance was measured by the normalized gain on the Force Concept Inventory. The gains for the regular-format course were better than the gains for the compressed-format course, and while the differences in gains are small they are statistically significant. Not accounted for are the differences in effectiveness of the different instructors in the two versions of the course.
 
DegreeInfo.com Forum Discussion Topic: 8-Week Versus 16-Week Course Length
Very informal, social media-ish sites, with the relevant thread now some 11 years old; but importantly has candid comments on point and by students. 
 
Design for Success: Identifying a Process for Transitioning to an Intensive Online Course Delivery Model in Health Professions Education
Intensive courses (ICs), or accelerated courses, are gaining popularity in medical and health professions education, particularly as programs adopt e-learning models to negotiate challenges of flexibility, space, cost, and time. In 2014, the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership (CRL) at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences began the process of transitioning two online 15-week graduate programs to an IC model. Within a year, a third program also transitioned to this model. A literature review yielded little guidance on the process of transitioning from 15-week, traditional models of delivery to IC models, particularly in online learning environments. Correspondingly, this paper describes the process by which CRL transitioned three online graduate programs to an IC model and details best practices for course design and facilitation resulting from our iterative redesign process. Finally, we present lessons-learned for the benefit of other medical and health professionsʼ programs contemplating similar transitions.
 
Developing Compressed Beginning and Intermediate Algebra Courses
The article discusses a project conducted to provide an opportunity for students to complete the developmental math course sequence more quickly to enable students to proceed to a college-level mathematics course sooner. It is noted that the project also intended to enable more class time for the new material in Intermediate Algebra.
 
Early Findings from a National Survey of Developmental Education Practices
This brief presents early findings from CAPR’s nationally representative survey of nearly 1,000 open-access and nonselective postsecondary institutions. The survey reveals that community colleges are increasingly using measures in addition to standardized tests, such as high school grade point average, to assess students’ readiness for college-level math and reading. Community colleges are also experimenting with a variety of instructional reforms, such as compressing developmental courses into a shorter time frame, offering multiple math pathways to align with different programs of study, and combining developmental reading and writing courses.
 
Effectiveness of an Ethics Course Delivered in Traditional and Non-traditional Formats
This paper details a three-credit-hour undergraduate ethics course that was delivered using traditional, distance, and compressed formats. OLS 263: Ethical Decisions in Leadership is a 200-level course offered by the Department of Organizational Leadership and Supervision in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Students in engineering, technology, business, nursing, and other majors take the course. In an effort to determine student perceptions of course and instructor effectiveness, end-of-course student survey data were compared using data from traditional, distance, and compressed sections of the course. In addition, learning outcomes from the final course project were evaluated using a standardized assessment rubric and scores on the course project.
 
Evaluating Strategy: Petition Against 8-Week Terms Comes as College Evaluates Success
Students and faculty petitioned against the new class schedules to administration and demanding more suitable class options after Eastfield College shifted to a primarily eight-week schedule.
 
Impact of Course Length on Student Learning
Using a database of over 45,000 observations from Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, we investigate the link between course length and student learning. We find that, after controlling for student demographics and other characteristics, intensive courses do result in higher grades than traditional 16 week semester length courses and that this benefit peaks at about 4 weeks. By looking at future performance we are also able to show that the higher grades reflect a real increase in knowledge and are not the result of a “lowering of the bar” during summer. We discuss some of the policy implications of our findings. 
 
Influence of a Compressed Semester on Student Performance in a Construction Science Course
Compressed semesters, also known as minimesters, are offered in some educational institutions in the United States. They are offered during the two-week break period between a regular semester (Spring or Fall) and summer. A minimester makes it possible for a student to complete a course on a shorter schedule. The author offered a course on Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Systems at a state university in Texas at the end of Spring semesters, both in 2015 and 2016. He offered the same course in Spring semesters, 2015 and 2016. The purpose this study is to find out whether there is difference in performance in the course between students taking the course in a regular semester and those taking it in a minimester. Total number of students enrolled for the course was 225 in Spring semesters and 50 in the minimesters. An analysis of the data, using Chi-square statistic, indicates that students in minimesters performed significantly better than those who took the course in Spring semesters.
 
Perceptions of Occupational Therapy Students and Faculty of Compressed Courses: A Pilot Study
As occupational therapists, our mandate is to be client centered, yet in academic settings there is little information regarding student or faculty preferences about curriculum and course design. This study investigated the perceptions of occupational therapy students and faculty regarding the delivery of content in a compressed course format, thus reducing the number of courses taken at any given time. The authors discuss how the results inform the feasibility of incorporating this format into future curriculum design. A descriptive survey design was used for this study. The participants were 33 entry-level graduate students and two faculty who completed post-course surveys for two courses. The results show that overall perceptions of students and faculty were positive regarding the compressed course format. The students had fewer courses to focus on and faculty had increased time to devote to other responsibilities. This study provides preliminary evidence for the feasibility of alternative  curriculum design in the future and lays the foundation for further research in occupational therapy curriculum design. It directly responds to the needs identified by the American Occupational Therapy Association in the occupational therapy education research agenda. Undergraduate instruction in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University utilizes two course delivery methods. Traditional daytime classes are 15 weeks long and have approximately 40 contact hours, while evening courses are offered in the Accelerated Degree program in a compressed 8-week format with 24 contact hours. The curriculum is the same for both delivery methods. In the capstone management course taken by all undergraduate business majors, the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test for the Bachelor’s Degree in Business (MFTB) is administered for assessment purposes. Since this test is given to both traditional undergraduates and students enrolled in the Accelerated Degree Program, it provides a useful way to see if the method utilized to deliver the course makes a difference in student learning, as measured by the scores on this test. Of course, there are other factors that could affect the scores on this exam, including cumulative GPA and a variety of other educational and demographic attributes of the students enrolled in these programs. After taking all relevant factors into account, the analysis performed in this study shows that the average score on the MFTB is significantly higher for the students enrolled in the accelerated capstone class.
 
Reduced Contact Hour Accelerated Courses and Student Learning
Undergraduate instruction in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University utilizes two course delivery methods. Traditional daytime classes are 15 weeks long and have approximately 40 contact hours, while evening courses are offered in the Accelerated Degree program in a compressed 8-week format with 24 contact hours. The curriculum is the same for both delivery methods. In the capstone management course taken by all undergraduate business majors, the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test for the Bachelor’s Degree in Business (MFTB) is administered for assessment purposes. Since this test is given to both traditional undergraduates and students enrolled in the Accelerated Degree Program, it provides a useful way to see if the method utilized to deliver the course makes a difference in student learning, as measured by the scores on this test. Of course, there are other factors that could affect the scores on this exam, including cumulative GPA and a variety of other educational and demographic attributes of the students enrolled in these programs. After taking all relevant factors into account, the analysis performed in this study shows that the average score on the MFTB is significantly higher for the students enrolled in the accelerated capstone class.
 
Student Preference Rates for Predominately Online, Compressed, or Traditionally Taught University Courses
Universities and colleges in the United States are actively searching for new ways to increase student enrollment as one means to offset recent government budget cuts in educational funding. One proposal at a particular institution involves transitioning a commuter university from a traditional semester length calendar to one that offers predominately online and compressed courses. University students responded to a survey, based on a number of variables, regarding their impressions of taking considerably more online and compressed courses in lieu of traditionally taught courses. While the students wanted to keep the traditional semester calendar, findings showed that some of the benefits of online and compressed teaching schedules were appealing.
 
Time-compressed Delivery for Quantitative College Courses: The Key to Student Success​
Shrinking university budgets are dictating a greater sense of accountability for college classes. Due to space limitations and required performance markers, students no longer have the luxury of unlimited opportunities to repeat classes ad infinitum when failing in previous attempts. This is especially true in the case of quantitative courses. However, it is not just the students who are feeling the pressure to perform successfully in the classroom. College instructors are being "gently urged" (more aptly describe as a "directive" from their administrators) to help all students progress toward graduation on a strict but reasonable timetable. It is for these aforementioned reasons that innovative teaching techniques are now being investigated by both administrators and instructors. One such approach to teaching inferential statistics at the Craig School of Business, California State University, Fresno, was first investigated during the 2007 summer session, with very promising results on an ad hoc basis. To test the efficacy of a time rearrangement format, students were exposed to the same amount of course material covered in a traditional semester setting but at almost twice the time length of a normal summer session course per class period (still equaling the time spent in a traditional 15 week semester setting). The class was completed in two-thirds of the time (equivalent to 10 weeks). The class average on the comprehensive final exam for this extended time format showed significantly improved results when compared to the historical data (collected from an exam which has been essentially unchanged for the past 30 years, protected from becoming a public domain entity, and faithfully administered every semester). Furthermore, this success was also exemplified in the final letter grade distribution. There were many more "A"s and "B"s than expected.