Summertime classes are viable options

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 24, 2002

For many people, summer hardly seems like an appropriate time to take classes. Most look forward to the three-month span that's free of tests, papers and note-taking.

Those attending the summer sessions at Riverland Community College, however, see it as a way to catch up and get ahead in their paths toward graduation.

According to Amy Wagner, director of marketing and public relations, Riverland offers two sessions of classes during the summer. The first runs from June 3 to July 10 and the second goes from July 11 to Aug. 16. Wagner says nearly 75 classes are offered the first session and approximately 25 are offered during the second. "Most of the classes are general liberal arts courses like chemistry, speech, psychology and English," she says.

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While many students taking summer classes are current Riverland students, Wagner says "we do see quite a few that do not go here full time, but are home from college for the summer and want to pick up a few credits to fulfill some requirements."

James Douglass, a member of Riverland's marketing department who is teaching Interpersonal Communications this summer says most of the students in his class are there as more traditional students. Some are working "to get credits they couldn't fit in during the regular school year. Some take classes because of the short period of time; they can get done sooner with the credits they need, especially if they're transfer students. I'd say even a small portion take it for fun," he says.

The work is intense as an entire semester of information is condensed into four and a half weeks which may not sound like a lot of fun or a relaxing way to pass the summer. But while Douglass says his students are "more focused because they know they need the credits and they can do it quickly," the atmosphere is a little more relaxed because they can shape Douglass' twice-a-week, five-hour-a-day class to fit their needs a little better. If they need to spend more time on a particular subject and less on another, it's easier to do so during the summer than during the longer fall and spring semesters.

Douglass says he does worry about "overloading them with information," during the few short weeks of class, but his goal "is to have them get the same amount of info out of either format."

"(Summer school) is such an opportunity to take such a variety of classes. I think it's a really good way to spend the summer," he says.

Though the first session is closed to new students, the second is open until the third day of classes. For more information, call 433-0600 or visit Riverland's Web site at

Amanda L. Rohde can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at