Summer online classes help undergrads stay on course and “in the groove”

As summer approaches, taking summer classes may be the last thing crossing many students’ minds.

But taking classes online during the summer months offers unique opportunities to blend learning and leisure—and staying on course to graduate.

This summer, students can choose from more than 300 online courses, including ten- and five-week courses that are accelerated to fit into the summer break.

Christy Bibbs, advisor and recruiter for the online bachelor’s degree in business administration, says summer online courses are ideal for students, in part “because it allows them to finish their degree faster.”

“Enrolling in the summer semester gives them an extra chance to complete those courses and stay on track with their courses and credits—or to just get ahead in their degree program,” says Bibbs. “For those wishing to graduate early, summer courses allow them to cross off required courses so they can take others during the fall and spring. They can actually shave a semester or two off of their college career.”

Several of Ball State’s university core curriculum courses are offered as five-week courses in the summer.

For undergrads who have not ventured into distance learning, online classes readily fit into a summer schedule because most classes do not meet at fixed times. Typically, students maintain contact with their instructor and classmates each week and complete assignments, readings, exams, discussions, group projects, and other activities.

The online and distance education marketing staff likes to say that online classes travel well.

“The incredible feature about summer online courses is that, due to their asynchronous format, classes accommodate summer internships, summer jobs, family vacations, summer recreation, and all those activities that round out our lives,” says Trudi Weyermann, assistant provost for learning initiatives. “Whatever you’re doing this summer, you can add the important element of intellectual transformation.”

As online enrollees, main campus students who are going home for the summer will still have access to professors, library services, the Writing Center, the Learning Center, the Technology HelpDesk, and all the services used by students on campus.

“Taking summer courses keeps students in the groove of studying,” says Bibbs. “It also allows students to take, maybe, a more difficult course during the summer than what they would normally do in a fall or spring term—especially if they take it by itself so they can focus on just that one course instead of splitting their time between four or more courses.”

She says it also helps students open up their schedules to pursue internships during the fall and spring semesters.

Approximately 5,ooo main-campus students supplement their schedules with online classes during fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Most online courses are taught by on-campus professors who develop courses with the help of the university’s instructional designers and technology specialists.

The university’s online courses are certified by the Quality Matters (QM) program, a nationally recognized peer review process ensuring course quality. In fact, Ball State is the first higher education institution in the country to earn QM’s Learner Support Program Certification for its online programs.

Students enrolled in main-campus courses don’t have to go through the process of transferring summer credits because they automatically apply to their Ball State degree.

However, to get preferred classes, students are advised to register early at mybsu.edu.