Summer session helps students catch up, get ahead and have fun

Thursday, March 29, 2012



UNH student

Junior physics major Connor Reed always has a front-row seat in class. Photo by Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services.

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 packing 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.

Last summer, Reed took 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 could do so because his instructor recorded each class for viewing at the student’s convenience. “Exams and homework still have hard deadlines,” says Reed.

While the University hosts hundreds of budding athletes, musicians, artists, and scientists who come to Durham to attend summer camp, UNH also offers credit courses on campus, via the Web, and through study abroad.

summer session at UNH

Online Courses, Cool Choices

Getting into Professor Paul Johnson’s popular course Contemporary Conservation Issues can be quite competitive during the fall and spring semesters. This summer, Johnson will offer two sections of the popular course, one at five weeks and the other at the 10 weeks.

“This allows the student to pick the pace,” Johnson says. An e-book version of the text, lectures posted online, Chat Room on Blackboard for office hours, and online exams are tools that Johnson will use to meet course goals of “promoting scientific literacy” and increasing environmental awareness.

Other courses offered online this summer include Biotechnology and Society; Introduction to Puppetry (Students will produce online video skits!); Elementary Spanish; a team-taught humanities course, Slavery and Freedom; and Survey of British Literature, a.k.a. Ghosts, Monsters, and Zombies.

Seacoast Summer

Students who prefer to take classes “in person” will find that Durham in the summer is quieter and classes are smaller.

Materials Science Professor Carmela Amato-Wierda will teach the Science of Stuff again this summer, another popular course. “In the summer, the typical class is about 15 students,” Amato-Weirda says. “The atmosphere is more one of a small group workshop where the discussion, conversation, and hands-on activity flow smoothly.”

Her teaching philosophy: “Yes! Everyone can learn science.”

Similarly, Professor Aaron Margolin, who teaches Microbes in Human Disease, a course required in several majors, emphasizes, “Learning should be fun. …I like to teach by telling real world stories.”

Pack Your Suitcase

Students who wish to study abroad will find fabulous opportunities. The shortest duration for study abroad is just under three weeks to Chengdu, China. Next is a four-week, intensive class at an archeological field school in Belize. And, of course, there are longer options as well. UNH-managed programs will be in full swing in England, France, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand.

Whichever format students choose to do this summer, the opportunity for earning credit while having fun will certainly help beat the heat.

Registration for Summer Session is now open. Courses will be offered in 5- and 10-week sessions beginning on May 21 (after Commencement) and in 8-week sessions starting on June 11. There are lots of variations, e.g., another 5-week session begins on June 25. To register or learn more, visit here.

Search available courses.


Written by Carrie Sherman