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K-State Today

August 18, 2011

Ready, set, learn: Courses with accelerated schedules keep nontraditional students focused on the finish line

By Communications and Marketing

For nontraditional students at Kansas State University, courses offered on accelerated schedules can lead not only to a faster degree path -- they also can help students focus and retain course content.

According to nationwide continuing education surveys, nontraditional students prefer taking fewer courses at a time, offered in shorter time frames.

"The condensed format of K-State's eight-week courses that have on-campus and online offerings requires students to concentrate more on course content over a shorter period of time," said A. David Stewart, associate dean of continuing education at K-State. "Studies show that student retention of course content is at least as good as courses taken on the traditional 16-week schedule."

Stewart says the courses require greater time commitments from students and dedication from course instructors, who adjust their lesson plans to account for the shorter time frame. Eight-week courses cover twice the content per week as a course offered on a semester-long schedule, but speed does not compromise content or quality.

"The high standards and requirements of these courses are the same regardless of the schedule they are offered," Stewart said. "Since there is less flexibility with 'waiting until tomorrow' to get something done, shorter courses have a much greater impact on student performance and can often result in a heightened level of focus for retaining information and staying on track. But the accelerated schedule can enable students to complete their degrees at a faster pace."

K-State's eight-week distance education courses available in the fall term include: SOCIO 211: Introduction to Sociology; SOCWK 310: Topics: Social Services and the Law; EDCEP 103: Healthful and Safe College Life; ASI 675: Monogastric Nutrition; ASI 678: Equine Nutrition; MANGT 420: Management Concepts; MKTG 400: Introduction to Marketing; MKTG 542: Professional Selling and Sales Management; MKTG 544: International Marketing; and MKTG 844: Advanced International Marketing.

For more information about K-State distance education, visit http://www.distance.k-state.edu.