Summer Away considered a success

Story by Mykaela Cross, Assistant Editor

Giving students the chance to take an increased variety of online classes is helping the Summer Away program grow in popularity.

With busy extracurricular lives during the fall and spring semesters, some students have a hard time keeping up with required courses. With a few new additions, including sophomore-level Quest courses and their links, the Summer Away program is seeing more students go online to learn as part of their summer break.

Taylor Whittum is a junior this year and took two classes over the past summer: QS311 and Mass Media and Society. Though he had taken an online course previously at a community college, Whittum found Baker’s to be much more rigorous.

“Even though the classes were online, they were just as much work as the ones on campus,” Whittum said. “They still felt credible.”

As a creative writing major, Whittum believes that Summer Away is a great way to catch up on required classes.

“I really liked it. I got to learn (using) my own study habits that worked for me instead of listen to someone tell me how to learn, and it’s helping me graduate early,” Whittum said.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Robyn Long was an online instructor in this summer’s program. Her course, Psychopathology, was a survey of mental illness. Though she is an advocate for online courses, she acknowledges the challenges that can accompany them.

“Summer classes are difficult,” Long said. “Summer’s a period of time when students need their rest and when time management can be hard.”

Regardless of its difficulties, Long believes that programs like Summer Away offer great opportunities for students.

“I think [Summer Away] is a positive. Not only does it make classes more accessible, but it also allows students to work at their own pace,” Long said.

In Long’s experience, even though the classes are online, the class grade averages remain consistent with previous on-ground courses.

Senior Jesse Miller was one of the 13 students who took Long’s class this summer. Although he participated in Summer Away once before, he said this year’s experience was better.

“I love the way it was set up, mostly because it is amazing when professors are willing to communicate regularly and readily,” Miller said. “Since it was based off of my schedule, it was easier to maximize both the amount of work I could do and how much I could get out of the class.”

Whittum, Long and Miller all recommend that students consider taking advantage of the Summer Away opportunity.

“I would strongly recommend it to those who would take it seriously, because it is a lot of work, though Baker does what it can to make it easier to handle,” Whittum said.