The Great Gator 8
A new course model designed to improve student success.
Beginning in Fall 2021 Lamar State College Orange will offer a new 8-week class model in which the fall and spring semesters will be split into two 8-week terms. When possible, students will take 8-week classes instead of 16-week classes, allowing them to focus on just two or three classes at a time.
This new schedule will hopefully help students stay on track and graduate on time. Specific outcomes include:
- a decrease in burnout that can happen with 16-week courses;
- part-time students can qualify as full-time, allowing more access to financial aid;
- improved student experience and an increase in positive feedback on the quality of courses (based on our pilot of LSCO business classes); and
- students graduate and enter the workforce sooner.
“The 8-week condensed courses have been an excellent tool for me to use while working toward my Associates Degree in Business. The model allowed a practical solution for me to work on achieving my degree in a timely manner. It allowed me to take more classes by splitting the course load into two terms of the semester instead of just one.”
Jessica J., LSCO Student
"What I like most about the 8-week course is that it is over so fast, and we can get more classes knocked out and closer to our degree. Doing an 8-week course online provides me with the flexibility I need as a working single mom. Before online and 8-week courses, I was not able to attend LSCO. Thankfully, now I have these resources at my disposal. I appreciate it greatly!!"
Jentzi W., LSCO Student
8-week terms give part-time students the opportunity to attend LSCO on a full-time basis. A student who is able to take only two classes at a time could do so twice in a single semester by taking two 8-week classes during the first term of the traditional 16-week semester, then taking two more during the semester's second 8-week term.
Completing four classes (a total of 12 semester credit hours) in a single semester (still just two classes at a time) will classify a student as full-time and could cut the time they spend in pursuit of a certificate or degree in half.
Studies show that full-time students who take just two or three classes every eight weeks are better able to maintain focus and excel. By the ninth week of a traditional semester, burnout tends to take a toll and drop-out rates become noticeably higher. With the 8-week model, students should experience a lower chance of burnout due to the shortened terms.
- Avoid the burnout most students get with long semesters.
- Avoid feeling overwhelmed due to having fewer courses the same time.
- Avoid juggling multiple assignments and deadlines.
- It's a good fit for everyone! (Including working students and students struggling academically.)
The goal is to increase student success. Both national and LSCO research shows higher student performance in the 8-week model.
National research demonstrates that exposing students to information more often, through an immersion approach, results in higher success for students. LSCO students will be able to dedicate time primarily to one or two classes during each term (8-week period) and will be able to focus more time per course rather than multiple courses. Peer Tutoring, Academic Support in the Learning Center, and online assistance through UPSWING is available for any and all students who need additional help.
Research also shows that concentrated learning systems better support individual student needs, emphasize fewer distractions, and allow students to focus intently on an area of interest rather than multitasking.
Yes. For example, a student who may currently take three (3) courses per 16-week semester, take two (2) courses each 8-week term for a total of four (4) courses.
All courses will contain the same rigor and content as they do now for a 16-week semester. Students will be able to focus on one or two courses at a time instead of multiple classes at once.
Students will be in class the same amount of time, just with fewer classes at once. This added focus will allow the student a better chance to understand the information without the distraction of additional coursework. Some classes will meet more frequently; however, seat time overall, will remain the same for each course. Some classes might transition to online, and others may become hybrids—which is a mix of both in-class and.
We recommend speaking with an Academic Advisor to develop an academic plan to finish your degree at LSCO. An Academic Advisor can help you determine what courses you should be considering.
All students qualifying for accommodations will receive accommodations. There are no changes to the accommodation process.
LSCO continues to offer hybrid (a combination of online and on-campus class time) and online course offerings that may be preferred options for individual student needs.
Yes, 8-week courses will be worth the same credit hours as 16-week courses and they will transfer to a 4-year institution the same.
For example, English Composition 1301 counts for three (3) credit hours and is not dependent on the term length.
In terms of transferring, institutions throughout the country offer courses in various formats, including other institutions in Texas. The length of the terms is not notated on the transcript. Public colleges and universities in Texas have transfer agreements in place to make sure courses transfer between institutions.
When possible, students should take two classes in each 8-week session and two classes in the summer. In terms of maximum allowable semester credits in the 8-week session, a student can take a maximum of 10 semester credits in an 8-week session, but your total number of semester credits cannot exceed 18.
The course schedule will continue to have a variety of options and flexibility. LSCO Academic Advisors will continue to help students determine a specialized plan that meets the student’s needs. Courses will continue to be taught in the on-campus, online, and hybrid (combination of online and on-campus class time) formats. Courses will continue to be offered in a variety of meeting days and times.
During a 16-week term, more opportunity for life to interfere with academic progress can occur. An 8-week term offers increased flexibility for course completion and attention to personal issues. For example, if a student has an emergency halfway through an 8-week course versus halfway through a 16-week course, the 8-week offers a better chance for completion, and, if they had to stop classes for any reason, they could start again at the next 8-week term and not have to wait for the 16 weeks to be over to begin again.
Keep in mind that the total number of courses taken at one time will decrease. For example, an adult who takes two courses during the 16-week semester will now only take one every 8-weeks. We do not believe the model change will disproportionately affect students who are working professionals.
Potentially, a student can cut the time in half for a degree. For example, if a student currently takes one (1) class per semester. The student will now be able to take one (1) class per term. This doubles the hours taken each semester.
No, Dual Credit students will not participate in the 8-week class schedule. LSCO is currently working with our high school partners to determine what works best for each school based on the courses taken at the high school location.
The requirements are 6 hours per 8-week term for full-time status. Essentially, a veteran will need to take two (2) classes per 8-week term to remain full-time.
Research data in these course areas reflect higher student success rates overall for the 8-week term length. In the sciences, most course offerings have been and continue to be offered in a variety of lengths with the 8-week offerings showing higher student success overall.
LSCO also offers online courses with online labs.
All programs will reflect the degree plan across nine (9) terms (two years). LSCO Academic Advisors will continue to help students look for a combination of classes and program options that meet their personal preferences and needs.
May Mini, Summer and Fall course schedules will be available when registration opens the first part of April.
The LSCO main page has a link for the Class Schedule.
The majority of our classes will be offered in the 8-week format, and not all will have a 16-week option. The courses remaining in a 16-week format for Fall 2021 will be looked at over the next year for structure considerations.
Costs for course materials remain the same per course. LSCO continues to look for ways to reduce costs for course materials. Open Educational Resources (OER) is one such option being explored further. Some courses currently use OER materials. OER provides free access to materials and carries the benefit of reducing book costs.
Taking two classes during 8-Week Term 1 and two classes in 8-Week Term 2 qualifies you as full-time. Taking one class in each 8-week term would make a student part-time.
LSCO is not the only college in Texas that offers 8-week courses. Other colleges and universities across the country have made this change.
Tuition is charged by the credit hour. Therefore, a 3-credit hour course will cost the same regardless of how it is offered.
The application process for financial aid will not change. Financial aid will have two disbursements: one (1) for the early 8-week term and one (1) for the mid 8-week term.
Registration is only complete once payments are received or arranged through the Cashier’s Office. Students are encouraged to complete all registration for the entire semester (8-week one, 8-week two, and any 16-week classes) and complete all payments or payment arrangements at the beginning of the semester in order to have a spot in the desired courses. For students who decide to register for the second 8-week session after the beginning of the semester, payment is due at the time of registration.