Professors: Summer semester flexible

Students cannot exist without educators. During the summer, students aren’t the only people on campus who sacrifice playtime for the sake of higher education.

Vikki Vickers, a history professor at Weber State University, teaches online courses during the summer. She teaches several courses during the fall and spring semesters, and she said there is a difference during the summer.

“It’s definitely different because this is technically my free time,” Vickers said. “This is optional for me to teach.”

She said working online allows her to travel and take advantage of her summer.

“That’s why I do online courses, because I have more flexibility,” Vickers said.

Debi Sheridan, who works with the Learning English for Academic Purposes program, does a study-abroad program during the summer that takes students to Dublin, Edinburgh and London.

Sheridan is originally from the British Isles. She said she gets to go home and visit family through the study-abroad program.

She said the summer semester is hard work, but that she likes it because the campus is quieter. She also said the LEAP classes tend to have less students during the summer even though they are often “quite small anyway.”

Joyce Buck of the department of child and family studies said she usually teaches summer courses each year. This semester she is teaching two online courses.

“Online’s pretty flexible,” Buck said.

Buck said teaching online courses works really well with her summer schedule.

“Summer classes can’t help but affect your schedule, but I don’t mind summer classes; I think they give some flexibility to our students. And it lets us kind of keep connected with each other as faculty.”

She also said the summer courses help the faculty stay in touch with those students who go to school during the summer.

Sheridan said she likes the summer semester because it provides more opportunity for one-to-one teaching due to smaller class sizes.

Vickers said her summer courses always fill up with students. She said she tends to get more e-mails from online students than face-to-face students.

She also said working online allows her to travel and take advantage of her summer while fulfilling her duties.

“I can log in from anywhere, I can grade from anywhere, I can chat with my students from anywhere, so it allows me to do that,” she said.

Vickers said the effort her students seem to put forth varies with each session. She said during some summer sessions her students seem less attentive, while during others they seem very gung-ho.

“I just think sometimes it’s harder for students to come to school in the summer, just because it’s so lovely outside and everybody wants to be outside enjoying the outdoors.”

She added that WSU has a good outdoor program to facilitate being outside in the summer.

Sheridan said the quality of students remains the same during the summer and that she hopes the quality of instruction is equal to that of the spring and fall semesters.

She said she too deals with the distraction of being outside.

“Especially when it rains; I want to go outside in the rain,” Sheridan said. “In fact, a student and I wanted to go stand out in the rain last week when it was raining heavy, but the boys wouldn’t let us.”

Vickers said she advises students to put the same effort into summer courses as they would for the fall or spring semesters.