How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Attending a statistics class online may not be the most thrilling summer vacation one could image…but it just might be one of the smartest.
Junior physics major Connor Reed is eager to pack as much into his UNH education as possible. He's working toward teaching certification in high school physics as well as math—an ambitious plan, and one that will surely make him more marketable when he graduates. But it would be difficult to realize within a traditional four-year span. Fortunately, Reed discovered e-courses, the University's growing online curriculum offered during the summer and in January.
"If I tried to do what I'm doing without summer classes it would take two more years. That's time I can't afford," says Reed, who has taken four e-courses at UNH in subjects as varied as statistics, the philosophy of technology, and world affairs.
This summer, Reed is taking an online course in differential calculus in addition to working and volunteering as a math tutor at his local high school. He prefers to do school work in the relative cool of the evenings and can do so because his instructor records each class for viewing at the student's convenience. "Exams and homework still have hard deadlines," says Reed.
While the University's physical plant hosts hundreds of budding athletes, musicians, artists, and scientists who have come to Durham to work with UNH coaches and faculty over the summer, its virtual "academy" will reach hundreds of students just like Reed.
Offerings range from logic, statistics, and business computing, to Shakespeare and forest ecology. Some students will take courses for self-improvement or general interest; others, such as Reed and classmate Anna Sculley '13, will take them to fill important requirements unavailable at other times.
Sculley is a junior family studies major from Merrimack, N.H. who is packing her years with business and Spanish courses. In January, she took an online course called Human Development. "I liked the way my professor set up online discussions," says Sculley. "She made a Facebook page for the class. All the students had to 'like' the page and then we were able go under discussions and communicate. It was nice because we could see each other's pictures."
Both Sculley and Reed admit to tradeoffs with online courses. Says Reed, "You can miss the personal contact, but the flexibility can't be beat. I'm a fan."