Saturday, February 17, 2018

Camosun College Interurban technology programs to switch to semester system

November 4, 2015 by Jessica Williamson, contributing writer

Technology programs at Camosun College’s Interurban campus are switching to a semester system in September 2016. The programs are currently on a quarterly system, as opposed to programs at the Lansdowne campus, which are on the semester system.

Redesigning the courses to fit into a semester system will allow for more co-op placement opportunities for students and also give them the chance to participate in college-wide events such as graduation.

According to Camosun chair of Mechanical Engineering Ross Lyle, this switch hasn’t come without a lot of serious consideration first.

“It was a mandate from administration,” he says. “VP of education John Boraas felt that this was a good move to make. We’ve talked about it many times, and so he said, ‘Well, let’s make it happen.’”

Camosun chair of Mechanical Engineering Ross Lyle says the college has worked to make a smooth transition (photo provided).

Camosun chair of Mechanical Engineering Ross Lyle says the college has worked to make a smooth transition (photo provided).

Lyle says that the college has worked to make the transition smooth for those students who will be enrolled in the programs when they transition. He says students currently in the second year will, “ideally,” finish up at the end of summer and graduate on the quarter system.

“We’ve worked really hard to try and keep all our students over the summer,” he says. “We actually set up some additional instruction for students that were behind in some courses so they could stay caught up and not fall behind.”

He adds that students who are in their first year will have a slight change in their schedule in 2016.

“The students that started this September will be switching over to the semester system in the fall of 2016, so they’re going to be going through and finishing up until the end of June,” he says. “Then they’ll be returning earlier than they would have if they had been on the quarter system; they’ll be starting at the beginning of September as we move into the semester system.”

Lyle admits that with that earlier return comes a downside, at least for some students.

“Those students will actually be getting a shorter summer,” he says, “so that’s going to have an impactŃit means they will not be able to get a regular co-op work term. They can get regular employment, but they won’t be able to get co-op work experience. I’m speaking specifically to Mechanical; I’m not sure about the rest, how they’re going to do. But I suspect it’s the same.”

Along with the change to the semester system, more prerequisites have been added for certain programs (this won’t impact students who are already in the programs).

“There are some changes here that will impact students that are inquiring into our program in the future,” says Ross. “We’ve changed both Civil and Mechanical to have Chemistry 11 as a prerequisite. The other thing we’ve done is in Mechanical, we’ve changed Physics 11 to Physics 12; a large number of students coming into our program have that already, but it will impact some students who are coming into our program.”

Third-year Human Resources student Robin White is welcoming Interurban’s switch to semesters, if for no other reason than a very practical one.

“It will make Camlink [on Camosun’s website] easier to deal with. When I was first starting here, I was like, ‘Am I a quarter or a semester? I don’t know.’ I think it will be a lot simpler for first-years,” says White.

There are pros and cons to any program modification, according to Electronics and Environmental Technology instructor Ian Browning.

“Well, just from an educational point of view, you can argue that it’s better to break things down into smaller chunks, to get the points across better, or you could say, ‘Well, it’s better to have a longer time to get more depth.’ So it depends on your point of view,” says Browning.

Browning says that there shouldn’t be implications to students other than the changing dates.

“The current students, they shouldn’t notice any difference,” says Browning. “They’ll see that the dates will change, they’ll still complete the program as before. You won’t even notice a difference, in that respect. It is a new program, but at the same time it’s been redesigned to be improved. Really, that’s the only difference. There shouldn’t be any impact.”

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