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K-State Today

December 20, 2011

Four decades forward: Intersession history, record-breaking milestones support students between terms

Submitted by Rosanna Vail

A 1968 Kansas State Collegian editorial stated that an interim class session between terms would benefit students and give the university "a chance to move into another new era of education."

This interim semester -- now known as intersession -- was adopted at Kansas State University several years later. Now in its 40th year, it has served thousands of students both on campus and at a distance. This year's enrollments, exceeding 2,000, are the highest to date.

The upcoming intersession term is Dec. 27 to Jan. 13, 2012. A list of classes is available at http://ow.ly/85uj9.

"Intersession was first conceived as an experimental time, an opportunity for students and faculty to explore new directions," said Sue Maes, the university's dean of Continuing Education. "Faculty were urged to build new courses, delving into current and timely issues."

Today, possible courses could be developed in unique and diverse topics such as business Mandarin, socially responsible investing or introduction to blogging. Intersession allowed instructors to test out the interest for new academic courses that were not part of the traditional set of approved course offerings.

"Intersession has been and continues to be used by faculty wanting to pilot a class to an audience and then gauge its effectiveness," said Ron Jackson, intersession program coordinator.

The launch of online intersession classes in 2008 opened the door for the thousands of Kansas State University students studying at a distance to also take advantage of their time between terms, and for traditional students living away from campus for internships and employment during breaks.

"Looking at the program's progress and benefit to students, the future of intersession is in these online classes. The number of online classes and enrollments in those classes have grown significantly. They're at an all-time high this year, in all three session: January, May and August," Jackson said.

While intersession's shorter course schedule can be intense, it allows students to be completely immersed in a single subject and complete an entire course in just a few weeks.

Maes says the convenience of this shorter schedule is a growing trend in higher education and can help students move toward degree completion at a more rapid pace.

"Keeping a close eye on academic trends, the Division of Continuing Education has observed a national movement toward accelerated courses. Intersession helps make this possible for the students," she said.

"In 40 years of the program the biggest milestone is that the number of options and classes available to students continue to increase, and this benefits students, faculty and Kansas State University," Jackson said.

Instructors can submit proposals for May and August 2012 sessions by Jan. 15, 2012. Learn more about intersession opportunities at http://www.dce.k-state.edu/courses/intersession.