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The 'Allen Term' winter break learning experience returning, but the 2014 version will be conducted online
11/07/13

Alfred University (AU) is re-introducing a former feature of the academic calendar for this year’s winter break. As of Nov. 4, students have been able to sign up for online classes to be offered during “the Allen Term,” a “minimester”  to be conducted online Dec. 16, 2013-Jan. 17, 2014.

By participating in the Allen Term, students will have the opportunity to complete a full semester course within a few weeks, make up a course they may have failed or received a low grade in during the fall semester, concentrate on one course without the burden of a heavy course load, lighten their spring semester course load, advance their academic standing, accelerate their degree, and/or be productive during the holiday break. Tuition for a course during the Allen Term is $960.

Named after Dr. Jonathan Allen, Alfred University’s second president and a pioneer educator, the Allen Term was first approved by AU faculty in 1969. It originally called for students to complete research projects between the end of the Christmas holiday and the beginning of the second semester. The independent study program carried no academic credit. In 1978, the faculty decided to stop offering the Allen Term, citing that some Allen Term projects may not have been productive.

Now, four current AU faculty members feel reintroducing the Allen Term will benefit today’s students in several ways. Julia Overton Healy, Chad Harriss, Joseph Petrillo and Robert Maiden are among the seven AU professors offering Allen Term courses.

 “I feel that it’s important for AU to begin to take some formal steps into online course delivery,” says Harriss, an associate professor of communication studies and department chairman. “The Allen Term offers students an opportunity to continue their progress toward graduation from offsite locations. I view the Allen Term as an opportunity to develop the skill set associated with online instruction.”

“I was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to study a flipped calculus model, allowing me to create videos of lessons and examples for an online format” says Petrillo, an associate mathematics professor.  “Engineering students are required to take Calculus I and some don’t succeed the first time around. By offering this course during Allen Term, students have a second chance at succeeding.”

“I have some experience teaching online courses so I know what to expect,” says Maiden, a psychology professor. “Online courses are a great way to get to know your students through a chat room or discussion board.”

“Students must demonstrate discipline, motivation and time management maybe more than they would for a class in a ‘regular’ semester, simply because of the compressed time frame,” says Overton-Healy, director of Leadership Programs and the Women’s Leadership Center. “My approach will be the same as it is in a brick-and-mortar setting: clear expectations, open and respectful communication, provide reasonably rapid feedback, be accessible to provide help.”