Summer is Here

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We’re already a couple of weeks into our first summer semester here, but wherever you are I hope your semester is ending smoothly.  I’ve written before about the challenges of teaching in summer but thought I would revisit this topic, thinking more specifically about some of the unique opportunities that summer teaching brings.


At my school, summer classes run six weeks, meeting two times a week for three hours each.  The challenge for summer teaching for us is three-part: squeezing sixteen weeks of learning into six, balancing the work that can be done between classes (when students have maybe a day to do the work), and filling a three hour class in a way that’s productive.  I’d like to invert those challenges.


Three hour classes allow me a lot more time to make writing happen in the classroom.  They also open the possibility for showing more video, something I am doing this summer.  Having a class that meets twice a week means that students reinforce writing skills more often, and more intensely.  And working with a six week semester forces me to distill the course into a set of essential skills.  There just isn’t room for anything not necessary.


What is summer semester like at your school?  And how do you meet its challenges, perhaps turning them into advantages?  I’d love to hear…

About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.