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Jan. 17, 2003
WINTERSESSION ATTENDANCE SNOWBALLS AT SUNY OSWEGO
OSWEGO -- An increasing number of WinterSession students meant the SUNY Oswego campus was hardly hibernating in January.
"The enrollment is robust," said Tom Ingram of the college's Office of Continuing Education, who directs WinterSession.
Ingram estimated class enrollments for the three-week period, Jan. 2 to 16, reached a high-water mark of just under 400. The numbers are "very strong" and have increased "steadily for the past four or five years since we decided to expand our offerings," he noted.
There are many reasons students pursued coursework instead of taking a break. "During the semester, it can be difficult to get into a lot of the classes you need," said junior public relations major Meagan Carney, one of 75 students in Professor Tina Pieraccini's "Children, Women and Minorities in the Media" WinterSession class. "I took this as a chance to get ahead and take a class I need for my major."
Junior accounting major Tammie Sullivan, a mother of three and a full-time student at SUNY Oswego, said the course appealed to her. "I was interested in seeing the effects of what television can promote," Sullivan said. "I've learned a lot, especially as a parent."
Tiffany Whittaker, a senior business major, enrolled in the course because she enjoys Pieraccini's classes. "It's not your typical lecture," said Whittaker, who is also a mother. "You don't want to just stare at a screen for three hours in a lecture. Tina makes the class lively and shows us interesting clips."
WinterSession also offered a pair of rigorous weekend courses, Ingram noted. "Judging from enrollment figures, students seem to be very pleased with them," he said. "We also have three online courses that filled up very quickly."
Much of the credit for the climb in enrollment belongs to department chairs and faculty who identify and recommend courses that students want or need to take, he said.
Completing a course in a compressed amount of time is another attraction, he said, but there is a misconception that these courses are somehow lighter than regular classes. "We don't cut corners" with WinterSession offerings, Ingram said. "These are the same courses people are getting in the fall or spring."
Pieraccini, who thinks her course's popularity also owes to fulfilling a human diversity general education requirement, said she taught a "concentrated" class.
"We cover the equivalent of one week of lecture material every day," she said. "Students have to be very motivated and very focused on the material. I give a test every three days, so it's essential they make class every day."
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