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Semester switch changes class structure, course load

As Ohio State embarks on its first semester in about 90 years, students are faced with revamped class syllabi, exam schedules and course loads.
Changes have had to be made in classes while switching content to the semester calendar from the quarter.
“All of the labs have been revised,” said Steve Kroner, a chemistry professor. “That’s huge for us.”
Although the lab aspect of Kroner’s chemistry classes have changed, he said he only had to make some changes to his lectures. A main change that students can expect is to be using an in-class polling system to take quizzes using cellphones. Kroner said the in-class electronic quizzes aim to encourage students to attend class more frequently and be more engaged.
“I don’t think we can just send (the students) home with homework and expect them to take in everything,” Kroner said.
Another change students in Kroner’s chemistry classes can expect is an increased amount of group work. Kroner said his classes last year generally consisted of homework and take-home problems.
Students can also expect a change in the grade distribution in classes.
“The grade breakdown has changed a little,” Kroner said. “We picked up an extra midterm so the weight against the final will be different.”
Aside from planning his own work, which he said up until the start of the semester was not stressful, the teaching assistants also had to be prepared for the switch.
Across campus, changes in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese have been made as well.
Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza, an OSU assistant Spanish professor, said several changes have been made to a Spanish pronunciation class she teaches. However, she said no additional work was added to her syllabus.
“My philosophy is the content is basically the same,” Campos-Astorkiza said. “Now you have more time for the students to digest and understand.”
In undergraduate classes, Campos-Astorkiza said students should expect the same material as on the quarter system but with more time for in- and out-of-class exercises.
While there will still be homework, Campos-Astorkiza said she hopes to implement more dialogue with the students during class by having them read assignments prior to class meetings.
In her graduate level courses, Campos-Astorkiza had a three-part project for her students in her phonetics class while on the quarter system but has added a fourth element. She said she also hopes to implement more writing exercises.
“I think probably it will be better,” Campos-Astorkiza said. “It was really intense (on quarters) and now material will be spread out and you can get to know the students more so they will feel comfortable (in class).”
After experiencing a little more than a week of the new semester course calendars, students have mixed thoughts.
Kelly Pyrak, a third-year in Spanish and international studies, said she thinks semesters are more stressful than quarter classes were so far.
“I’m not really happy about it because it is more stressful, there’s a lot more classes, my days are a lot fuller, and I have to be in class a (for) longer periods of times and there is more homework,” she said.
Other students said they think having classes for a few additional weeks will be beneficial.
“Certain classes it’s good because they change the 10-week material to 15 weeks, which makes it easier,” said Daniel Ross, a second-year in biology.
Pyrak said she thinks more than just the students feel caught off-guard by the new schedule.
“A lot of professors are confused on how to pace their classes because they have more time, so they like don’t know if they are behind and I feel like everybody is confused,” she said.

Daniel Chi contributed to this article.

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