Mini-mester term should be improved

Cheyanne Crum, Features editor

In the winter, Mercyhurst’s campus looks like Hogwarts, blanketed in snow. It is the perfect school to offer a Harry Potter-themed class and that was actually an option this year with the mini-mester classes. This Harry Potter class counted as an English credit through the REACH curriculum, and I decided to take it.

I love Harry Potter and anything to do with it. As the summer drew to a close, I was getting more and more excited for the year to start. I was ecstatic to spend eight weeks talking about Harry Potter with other students that were just as obsessed, and when I got the textbook for the course, it just made me even happier.

The class was great.  Our first assignment was to take the Sorting Hat Quiz to sort ourselves for a project that we would be doing later. We discussed the Harry Potter novels and themes in them.

My mini-mester class was two hours and 45 minutes long, two days a week. I understand that the class was cramming 15 weeks of material into eight but that is too long of a time to spend in one room.

Other Tuesday/Thursday classes are now one hour and 15 minutes, so there is a very large difference in the amount of time that is spent in this mini-mester.

Some days were harder than others.  If we were talking about something that maybe was not very interesting or something that was just dragging, it was hard to sit there.

Realistically, it was better than a J-term class for amount of time spent per week in the class, but during J-term, most people were only taking one class, not six.

The idea for the mini-mester classes is really innovative and interesting, but I think it needs to be executed differently. I know it was the first time and professors were adjusting, but the idea needs some work.

For the first five weeks of my mini-mester class, our only assignments were to read the essays that corresponded to the discussion for that week of class.

Then there was an abrupt change. In the last three weeks, we had a paper, an hour long group presentation and a solo project.

The class had knowledge of the group project from the beginning of the semester, but we could not start it until we received all of the information later in the term. I am fine with getting assignments, but if they are going to be big ones, I like time to work on them in order to prepare. These assignments could have been spread out more.

I know that the time constraints were problems for other mini-mester courses as well.

My roommates were taking a class that met two days a week at 5:30 p.m. and continued until 9:05 p.m. They did not receive their final paper assignment until the second to last class, and they still had a final to take before leaving for Fall Break.

Mini-mesters are a good idea.  They allow students to get REACH classes done quickly and they offer more interesting classes than what is normally offered. The concept definitely needs work though.  Professors need to realize that we are taking other classes, so give assignments and set deadlines accordingly.