Winterim courses allow students to transition between first and second semester by packing in the credits in two and a half weeks. The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point offers courses in the classroom and online, with most students taking one or two classes. The 2014 winterim lasted from Jan. 5 to 16.
Biology Professor Todd Huspeni is the interim associate vice chancellor for teaching, learning, and academic programs. He has taught many winterim courses.
Huspeni said enrolling in winterim has many benefits. During this short time, students focus on a particular class and strategically plan to take courses that may be difficult to gain admittance to during the regular semesters. He said field courses especially lend themselves to a condensed format.
“It is important to remember that these courses are designed to meet the same credit hour requirements as a 16-week course,” Huspeni said.
He advises students against taking on more than they can handle. “With an intense course like this, missing a single day of class can really add to the challenge,” Huspeni said. “Every minute is precious.” Huspeni said these courses challenge professors as well.
“It requires professors to engage with students quickly and be creative in addressing content and learning outcomes,” Huspeni said. “It is a fantastic opportunity.”
Even after walking for graduation in December, communication major Brent Lindholm needed extra 300- level credits to attain his degree.
“It is super nice that there are opportunities like a short winterim class to fulfill a need like that quickly and easily without having to sign up for a whole extra semester of college,” Lindholm said. “Winterim is only a couple weeks long, so it is so short that you barely even realize it was a class.”
Lindholm took Music 305, Jazz History for Musicians. He said the class was fully online, and the professor was easy to contact, allowing him to work whenever he wanted.
“I don’t know about other classes, but I am sure they aren’t impossible because it isn’t a full semester. It isn’t the teacher’s job to make it as hard on students as possible,” Lindholm said.
He said these courses teach students how to study and receive knowledge independently. Lindholm also mentioned two drawbacks of the online format. The first being the possibility of having difficulty getting in contact with the instructor, and the second being the lack of a student community to help each other with questions.
Senior David Leverett took the online Political Science 391, American Political Thought, to fill his interdisciplinary studies requirement.
“This class was a lot of reading, but I even did well with a learning disability,” Leverett said. “I have taken winterim classes every year since I started and found that I like the online part and to being able to get rid of a course or two that I don’t want to take during a regular semester.”
Leverett recommends online courses because it allows students to take classes and still have a break from physically being on campus. Winterim is also an opportunity to be on campus when few students are present.
“There are a lot of benefits to working on your own if you are self- motivated,” Leverett said. “If not, winterim might not be for everyone.”
Junior Nicole Krokosz, a family and consumer sciences major, took two winterim courses in order to graduate a semester early: Sociology 368, the Sociology of Mental Health, and Family and Consumer Sciences 444, Helping Relationships: Skills for the Helping Professions.
While taking these classes, Krokosz also worked at Hometown Children’s Center, Inc.
“In one class, I had to put in about four to five hours every day, and the other one I had to put in one to two hours every day,” Krokosz said.
This time commitment combined with work caused a hectic life for Krokosz.
“I didn’t find either one super difficult,” Krokosz said. “It was just very time consuming, and there is a lot of reading involved.”
Krokosz said one drawback of online classes is that they have few lectures, putting more emphasis on the textbook and other supplemental readings.
“I did enjoy it somewhat and do recommend it,” Krokosz said. “To be honest, though, it’s no walk in the park, and it goes by super quick. You have to really want to take the class and have to dedicate a lot of time and focus. There isn’t a lot of time to get adjusted; you have go into it ready to work really hard. However, if you take it seriously and work hard, it is very beneficial.”