Summer Is Impossible

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We’re already a couple of weeks into the first of our two summer semesters.  Each is an impossibility since each lasts 6 weeks.  How does one squeeze 16 weeks of writing instruction into 6 weeks?  Not easily, to be sure, and perhaps not well. Our first strategy is to cut the course down to its bare bones: students write 4 papers instead of 6.  Even then the pace is beyond relentless.  Here’s a skeleton of our summer syllabus:
  • 5/14 Introduction
  • 5/16 Discuss Reading 1
  • 5/21 Paper 1 Draft / Peer Revision
  • 5/23 Paper 1 Final / Discuss Reading 2
  • 5/28 Paper 2 Draft / Peer Revision
  • 5/30 Paper 2 Final / Discuss Reading 3
  • 6/4 Conferences / Midterm Portfolio
  • 6/6 Paper 3 Draft / Peer Revision
  • 6/11 Paper 3 Final / Discuss Reading 4
  • 6/13 Paper 4 Draft / Peer Revision
  • 6/18 Paper 4 Final / Discuss Final Portfolio
  • 6/20 Final Portfolio
It’s bad enough that in a regular semester we have writing due every week but in the summer we have it due every class.  It’s always concerned me.  Ideally, we should be using the whole summer but there are institutional pressures here that involve complex politics of budgets, student progress, time to degree, and more. Does anyone else have such a crazy summer schedule?
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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.