(Sacramento State/Andrea Price)
By Jonathan Morales
Despite a move to online instruction, Summer Session at Sacramento State again will offer students a chance to get closer to graduation.
The University announced on March 29 that, as a result of continuing social distancing measures in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, all summer classes will be conducted virtually, as much of the Spring 2020 semester was.
What hasn’t changed, said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Perez, is the opportunity students have during the summer to make progress toward their degree.
“It’s an important resource for our students to be able to take classes during times when we’re not offering our regular academic year courses,” Perez said. “Students can either catch up on courses that they weren’t able to complete during the regular part of the year, or get ahead and do some things that they want to get a jump on.”
For students participating in Sacramento State’s “Finish in Four” and “Through in Two” programs, which are designed to help more students graduate on time, summer classes offer an additional way to fit in the 30 course units needed annually to meet program goals.
The move to virtual comes with challenges, but it also offers one unique benefit: Students from outside the Sacramento area who return home during June and July can enroll in Summer Session and earn credit remotely. It also is available to students from other colleges and universities back in Sacramento for the summer and looking to get ahead on coursework.
Registration began April 20 for Sac State students and continues through Friday, May 15. Students admitted for fall 2020 and members of the general public can enroll beginning Wednesday, May 6. Classes run for six or 12 weeks, with six-week sessions taking place May 26-July 2 and July 6-Aug. 14, and the 12-week session running May 26-Aug. 14.
To help make this Summer Session more affordable, the University has temporarily reduced fees. Students who have signed the Finish in Four or Through in Two pledges are eligible for the Provost’s Grant to defray tuition costs, and all students can apply for summer Pell grants.
Sacramento State faculty and staff are working to prepare summer classes for online delivery, and some have gotten a head start. In late 2018, the College of Continuing Education, which administers Summer Session, and the Center for Teaching Learning (CTL) launched the Summer Online Grant program, providing faculty with course redesign funds to develop high-quality online summer courses.
One of those faculty members was Professor of Education Maggie Beddow, who used her grant to develop an online bilingual education course for Summer Session 2019. The CTL helped her not only become familiar with technology such as Zoom, but also with the best ways to design and deliver course content online.
Beddow was one of 10 faculty members to receive a $3,500 course redesign grant to develop an online course for summer 2019. An additional 10 received grants in the same amount for this summer. Beddow will teach two sections of the course and also has been providing online support to some of her fellow faculty members.
"I honestly am so grateful that I did that training because, given what has happened now, I feel so much more prepared,” she said.
The University will benefit from having more time to prepare online classes for summer than in spring, Perez said. He added that though it’s always important for students to do their best not to fall behind in an online class, it’s especially so during summer when courses move more quickly than during a traditional semester.
“If you need help, reach out to your professor, reach out to your advisors,” he said. “We are here to help students be successful, and we need to know when they need our help.”
Visit the CCE’s Summer Session page for more information.