UNC Summer School is expanding class sizes and sections to accomodate students – The Daily Tar Heel - Freelance Rack

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

UNC Summer School is expanding class sizes and sections to accomodate students – The Daily Tar Heel


If you’re still trying to figure out your summer plans, consider taking an online summer school class at UNC. The University has expanded class sizes and offerings to accomodate an influx of students. 

To find out about the hundreds of courses offered, visit the Summer School program’s website

The Maymester term runs from May 13-29, Session I from May 13-June 18, and Session II from June 22-July 28. 

Not sure how to take advantage of a summer that isn’t going to go like you planned? 

UNC Summer School has seen an unprecedented increase in interest for enrollment this year – and in response, several departments have added more classes or expanded seats.

Jennifer Weinberg-Wolf, a physics and astronomy professor at UNC, is one of the many faculty members working hard to accommodate students during this unprecedented season. 

“We are teaching over twice as many students as last summer,” Weinberg-Wolf said. 

But while many students’ lives are being uprooted, Weinberg-Wolf is encouraging students to look for a silver lining. 

“A lot of the classes we’re teaching are prerequisites for other majors so students can use the summer to get ahead or lighten the load,” she said. 

And it seems like many students are taking advantage of just that.

Psychology and neuroscience professor Jeannie Loeb has also been grappling with the heightened demand for summer school classes. Psychology is a popular major at UNC, and already, you might notice that many of the summer classes in this department are full.

“With this huge increase in enrollment, with Summer Schools’ generosity and support, we’ve been able to add a few more classes,” Loeb said. 

So far, the department has added another section to research methods, biopsychology and another neuroscience course. Throughout the Maymester and both summer sessions, the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is offering 27 courses. 

Weinberg-Wolf also cited the Summer School programs’ flexibility as help in figuring this summer out. “We have a lot of high-quality graduate students who wouldn’t have had teaching assistant positions over the summer but now we have that financial support,” she said.

Many faculty and staff across the University are dedicating a large portion of their summers to serve all of the needs of students. In addition to the time spent teaching more sections, many professors are putting in additional time and effort to move their classes online. 

“It is a tremendous amount of work for our faculty because face to face is so different from an online format,” Loeb said. “It’s particularly difficult, but we want to be here for our students and support them.” 

Weinberg-Wolf said all of the classes the psychics and astrology department are teaching this summer are classes they already taught this spring. 

“A lot of the work we’ve done converting classes for the second half of the semester we can use and make improvements to,” Weinberg-Wolf said.

Weinberg-Wolf said virtually converting labs has been particularly difficult, and has required creativity from faculty members. Professors are using online simulations so students can still interact with their online work. 

No matter the challenge, students remain at the heart of all considerations. 

“We’re trying to balance how many students we can reasonably support and help. My end goal is always that students can be successful in a course and meet the learning objectives,” Weinberg-Wolf said.

The Summer School program and UNC faculty are working tirelessly to open up opportunities for students to take summer school classes. Without these efforts, it would be impossible to meet the demand for students. 

“I am so grateful for our instructors who are stepping forward to meet this greater demand and for Summer School for offering funding and logistical help,” Loeb said. 

“We are so thankful for our students to have this opportunity but at the same time, we know it’s hard for them as well. We’re thinking about them through this very challenging time.” 

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