Compressed Courses

I received a request for research of Compressed Courses (CC), which are typically 3-6 week summer or between term courses. In Boeding's Dissertation, Academic Performance in Compressed Courses: A Phenomenological Study of College Student Success (2016), the author finds that CC's:

  • Show improved grades and learning (Gamboa, 2013; Scott, 2009; Tatum, 2010).

  • Promote student productivity and provide opportunities for students to become immersed in activity during class periods (Tatum, 2010).

  • Restructured to include pedagogy that promotes engagement (Anastasi, 2007; Gamboa, 2013; Lee & Horsfall, 2010).

  • Produce equal, often exceptional, learning outcomes compared to traditional courses (Scott & Conrad, 1992).

  • Earned at least 30% higher success rates; grade point averages; and course completion rates were higher.

  • Were superior in terms of learning outcomes.

  • Students are challenged more, which has a positive effect on cognitive skills (Seamon, 2004).

  • Enhance learning outcome achievement, such as critical thinking, communication, and global and cultural understanding (Rawls & Hammons, 2012).

  • Create an environment where instructors incorporate more active learning activities and provide students with more time on task (Aguilar, 2004).

  • Facilitate innovative teaching approaches (Kretovics et al., 2005; Lee & Horsfall, 2010).

  • Employ more active learning such as problem solving; and hands-on activities (Scott, 2003).

In the Influence of a Compressed Semester on Student Performance, Choudhury (2017) found using Chi-square statistic, students performed significantly better. Also, in The Influence of Session Length On Student Success, Logan and Geltner (2000) examined the counter-intuitive idea from a database consisting of 446,000 students. They examined factors affecting the finding including teaching performance, type of course, frequency of class meetings, length of class meetings, type of student, quality of student scholarship, student maturity, and student background.

In summary, much of the results refer to the importance of clearly articulated, well-aligned, active, measurable learning outcomes (LOs) and research-based instructional methods. Extended, contiguous time with students seems to encourage building relationships and meaningful pedagogy, which engages students in a relevant, sustained way.

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