Maymester classes fill up, aim to accelerate learning

The three week long semester referred to as Maymester starts on May 9. This year, 16 classes are being offered, including the first graduate class to be offered through the program— Internet in Education. ORACLE PHOTO/SEBASTIAN CONTENTO

Summer is approaching, and along with the new season comes the return of Maymester — an array of online courses that run from May 9 through 27.

Created in 2015, the intense mini-term resulted from demand by students and administration. It was modeled after similar short-term programs offered by universities in the Northeast. 

Since its introduction, Maymester has seen a marked upturn in enrollment, as its fundamental purpose has remained relevant.

Some students increasingly find the courses useful to complete their state-mandated summer requirements in a timely manner, leaving the rest of their summer vacant for vacations, internships and summer jobs.

Chandni Patel, a senior majoring in health science, said traveling over a majority of the summer was the reason she decided to take a course called Life Cycle during last year’s Maymester.

Additionally, career-oriented courses offered both last year and this year have sought to ease upperclassmen into the professional world.

“We want these courses to be a tool that these students can use for however they define their success,” said Owen Hooper, assistant director for Summer and Alternative Calendar Programs.

Along with the returning class, Life Cycle, the 16 courses offered this year range from Basic Marketing to the fast-filling history class Hitler and Stalin, to the first-ever graduate class offered by the program, which extends an additional two days.

The courses are offered to any enrolled USF student, new and currently enrolled non-degree-seeking USF student or currently enrolled student at any college or university other than USF. 

Students may add a Maymester course to their schedule as late as May 11, as May 12 is the add-drop deadline.

The courses are chosen based on data collected on enrollment numbers during the fall and spring semesters, faculty availability and certain college requests for collaboration.

The College of Business, for example, collaborated with the Summer and Alternative Calendar Programs Department in order to allow those pursuing their business certification the chance to finish one of the requirements during Maymester. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the requirements would be made available in the Summer A and B sessions. This would enable students to obtain their compete certification over a single summer.

A similar partnership with the College of Education aims to highlight the prerequisites required to allow students into the college, so that they are taken before the two main semesters begin.

Hooper agreed that the program will be looking into the prospects of implementing on-campus classes in the future.

“We’ve been in those conversations, we’re having those conversations now, and there are certain classes that lend themselves to being better facilitated online,” Hooper said. “And there are those that are better facilitated face-to-face, so we definitely want to support those best practices any way we can.”

Although Maymester’s courses and relevant information is available online, increasing the program’s presence on campus remains a goal for the administration. 

Hooper spoke about social media initiatives that will be aimed at dispersing the semester’s information quickly and efficiently.

“We’re working with Student Affairs to try to have a one-stop shop for students,” he said.