Motivated students do well in Flex 2 classes, chairs say

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The compressed schedule causes some students to struggle.

Maya R Williams

As registration for Flex 2 classes continues, two chairs of academic departments explained the pros and cons for completing a 16-week course in eight weeks. Registration for Flex 2 classes closes March 4. Classes start March 19 and continue until the semester ends May 12. Flex 2 and online courses have the lowest pass rate of all semesters, whereas Flex 1 has the highest rate, Mike Burton, chair of English, education, humanities and journalism-photography, said Jan. 26. 

He said the main reason Flex 2 has the lowest pass rate is that many students who take Flex 2 classes have dropped a 16-week course and picked up a Flex 2, or they registered late.

“Their options are limited, and they are put into these compressed courses,” he said. “They are already not proactive.”

Another difficulty students run into is taking Flex 2 courses while taking 16-week courses, which he said peak during the Flex 2 time.

“All your projects … your major assignments are due at the tail end of a 16-week course,” he said.

The accelerated pace of Flex 2, combined with major assignments in 16-week courses, puts a lot of pressure on a student taking Flex 2 classes, he said. 

The best way for students to prepare for the “whirlwind” is to be productive, he said

“There is no time to have recreation from the class,” he said. “You’ve got to be on it all the time.”

Dr. Thomas E. Billimek, chair of psychology, philosophy and student development, said in an interview flex courses give students an opportunity to pick up courses they need to graduate or to fulfill other degree requirements.

He said the success in a flex course depends on the student’s motivation and responsibilities.

“If a student were taking 15 hours already, I wouldn’t recommend a flex. In a way, it would be like taking two more courses with that concentrated workload,” Billimek warned.

Many students think a flex course is a class split in half, but in reality “the demands of the course are exactly the same,” he said.

Students who plan to take a Flex 2 course need to have “the ability to focus on doing  a consistent amount of work in a shorter period of time,” he said. “The key would be to find a course that you can handle the workload and look at your other responsibilities.”

Many students think they can handle flex courses, but once the workload increases, they may struggle.

“You can sprint, but not a mile. So you might be able to run very hard for two weeks or three weeks, but if after that time you can’t handle it any more, then maybe that (taking a flex course) is not the thing you want to do,” he said.

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  1. Paul Andrew Enriquez on

    After graduating from San Antonio College in 2014 I took two semesters at U.T.S.A, but the tuition price is too expensive, so I spent five months in search of an office job, but the majority of the office careers I had seen require a certificate. I spoke to Anthony Andrade in October 2017 and he explained that I could pursue an Administrative Assistant certificate; I did not want to waste time, so I requested a flex class, but he advised me against it because I have a visual disability. I reapplied to San Antonio College and chose to take two classes: ITSW 1304 Introduction to Spreadsheets, and ITSW 1301 Introduction to Microsoft Word, and the classes are online, but I must keep up with the fast pace of the 16 week course, so I know that patience is key and I will not sign up for flex to fulfill my last two required courses.

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