Why the add/drop period should be extended
Walk into any classroom on this campus. What can we see a majority of the time?
Students on their laptops.
Granted, many people take notes on their laptops. But all you need to do is take a glance around that classroom to find someone checking their fantasy scores or purchasing clothes while the professor is teaching.
While we all get distracted – and I’ll be the first one to admit that paying attention to every single word a professor says during class time is challenging – one thing is abundantly clear: these students are not engaged with the class content.
Now, why might this be?
One reason stands out above them all: as students, there are just some classes we are not interested in.
The amount of money being wasted aside, there is another issue – an issue that may have a simple solution: students are wasting their time in classes they are not truly academically invested in.
So how can this be fixed?
Extending the add/drop period for classes.
Currently, the allotted period of time for students to switch classes on their schedules is one week. How are students expected to make an informed decision regarding schedule revisions just one week into the semester, especially considering the multitude of factors that impact their academic lives at this time?
As a student, I believe that the first week of classes is a stressful time. Despite it being ‘syllabus week,’ we have just made our way back to campus, found our classrooms and purchased our textbooks – all while trying to maintain a healthy social life. That is a lot to manage. And then, on top of it all, we are expected to decide if our classes work for us in just one week?
Personally, I have only ever switched one of my classes during my time here at Quinnipiac. It was my first semester of freshman year and I switched into a different English 101 course. I felt that my original professor did not have a teaching style that worked well with how I learn. However, I had to make a quick decision in this scenario. I only had the class twice a week and had to make the decision following the second class.
So, with the first week being used to primarily get settled in and review the syllabus, how are students supposed to make a concrete decision regarding potentially switching their classes? What if you only have the class you are thinking of switching out of once a week?
There are a variety of reasons a student may switch out of a particular class. Perhaps, much like my case, their professor’s teaching style doesn’t work with how they learn. Maybe that class is not as convenient to their schedule as they previously thought it would be. It may be because the class content is not as interesting as the student thought it would be when registering for the class. With this in mind, why do we as students not have more time to make this decision?
Between January 2010 and March 2014, over 3 million tweets written by college students were related to skipping class, according to a 2015 study conducted by Class120. Of those tweets, 87 percent celebrated the act of willfully missing class, with 40 percent stating a reason why. Within those reasons, 17 percent of the students simply found something else they would rather be doing.
If you can find something you’d rather be doing than being in a particular class, why should you be in the class at all?
Granted, I am not advocating skipping class in any way. What I will advocate is giving these students a chance to correct their lack of interest related to class. One way to do this is giving them the opportunity to switch into a class they may actually be interested in.
I fully understand that the add/drop period cannot be pushed back too far, as switching classes too late into the semester would put students who switched too far behind with course assignments. I wouldn’t expect the university to deliberately put students in a position to fail.
On the other hand, I am proposing that the add/drop deadline be extended for another week.
Extending the deadline would give students more of an opportunity to make a proper assessment of their classes, instead of making a rash decision to switch out after only one or two class meetings. In addition, switching classes after just two weeks would not leave students too far behind content-wise.