Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

    No more break time homework

    The three week winter recess from classes that interrupts Augustana’s 10 week trimester is unproductive for professors and students. As an University of Missouri transfer student, the first trimester I have experienced was the past Fall one here at Augustana as a junior. I can not speak for other transfer students, but I found the transition from 16 weeks to 10 weeks quite stressful, and I remember wishing for more time in between readings and essays while pushing through my first ten week term.
    For example, between Dec. 18 and Jan. 8, I have been assigned over 500 pages to read and one essay to complete. If I am being honest, I feel like this isn’t much to complain about considering that this workload is light compared to a three-week workload when classes are in session. So in that sense, it considerably is “a break,” from the winter trimester.But imagine a person sprinting for 500 yards and then being told to stop and walk for 300 yards before sprinting for another 500. The stress induced by allowing one’s body to relax too greatly before forcing it to pick the pace back up is harmful to their performance during the last 500 yards. Students feel this same complicated energy dynamic when given three weeks of light work in between two five week periods of heavy work.
    Although I wished for more time during the Fall trimester, this three week period of “homework purgatory” is not what I had in mind. If the person sprinting was allowed to stop moving completely, drink some water, and maybe stretch, then true rejuvenation could occur, and the same applies to the possibility of students having an assignment-free winter recess.
    However, minds and memories are not bodies, and the delicate process of learning can be easily interrupted by extended periods of rest. A loss of exposure to material is certainly correlated with a loss of knowledge on material, and students are wary to allow themselves to fall behind. Consequently, students complete homework assigned over the winter break without much complaint because of the sense behind it all. It is understandable that professors see the need to have their students stay involved with class material during the winter recess.
    Truly, it would be a shame if the information from the first half of the trimester was lost and the last five weeks of the term were spent recovering from the extended time-off. Professors are put in an unfair position to either disturb their student’s personal lives with work over the holidays or risk the productivity of their course. While I do not believe that the amount of pages my professors want me to study and write is too much to ask, I do believe that the overwhelming feeling that me and many other students have about homework assigned during the holidays is rooted in the expectation of winter break containing no homework.
    I wish to offer a possible solution of professors assigning extra credit assignments over the winter recess. If professors had their winter courses set-up in a way where there are not many chances to receive points while classes are in session but offered many ways to allow students to give themselves room for error on their larger projects with extra credit opportunities over the break. Perhaps students will feel more involved in their schooling without the consequence of falling behind, and professors could be without fear of a stagnant final five weeks.
    In the end, no professor wants to ruin a student’s Christmas day and no student wants to read 80 pages after opening presents.

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    No more break time homework