By Alejandra Jauregui, Comm ’20, communication intern in the Office of Marketing and Communication
As winter break approaches, more students than ever are taking advantage of Marquette’s January Session, or “J-Session” term.
J-Session is a special, four-week academic term that allows undergraduate students to earn credits between fall and spring semesters. J-Session courses consist of a full semester of material in a compact timeframe and at a reduced price — $710 per credit. The courses are offered in two forms: most are online, while some are study abroad programs.
David Schejbal, chief of digital learning, says J-Session enrollment is up 75 percent from last year. More than 450 students have already registered.
“Keep in mind, J-Session is relatively young. It started about three or four years ago,” he says. “But the increase in students signing up for these classes is notable. We have done a big push to communicate to both students and advisors what J-Session is and how it can really be beneficial to those looking to catch up, get ahead or learn in a different way.”
Schejbal says there are likely many reasons for the spike in J-Session enrollment, but that the cost of higher education and a drive to graduate on time to limit expenses plays a factor.
This year, J-Session runs from Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, to Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. In total, 11 classes (22 sections) are offered, ranging from English and philosophy to business. There are also six study abroad programs, taking learning globally to places like China, India and England.
Marquette investing in J-Session, Schejbal says, shows the university’s commitment to providing a variety of learning experiences for undergraduate students. Through J-Session’s intense, yet flexible course schedules, students can enhance their skills while spending time with their families over winter break.
Dr. Ed de St. Aubin, associate professor of psychology in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, and fellow for the Center for Teaching and Learning, says J-Session is convenient for the busy, demanding lifestyle of today’s students. De St. Aubin has taught several J-Session courses over the years.
Most students, he says, have heavy course loads of up to 21 credits each semester, on top of extracurriculars, service learning, jobs or internships. The chance to take a class online during what would traditionally be winter break can help students stay on track for graduation, while balancing school and other personal obligations.
“[J-Session] is also a space for students to grow and engage in an online setting,” de St. Aubin says. “Students who are shyer, who might never raise their hand in one of my on-campus classes, typically feel more comfortable typing up a response in a class discussion thread and posting it without worry. That is an example of students being active learners.”
Schejbal advises that students considering a J-Session course should set appropriate expectations. J-Session classes are designed to be just as rigorous as any semester-long class at Marquette. Though, he adds, the courses do offer the unique ability for students to go back and revisit lectures and other class materials.
Registration for J-Session goes until Wednesday, Dec. 18. Classes are filling up quickly.
For more information about J-Session, visit the J-Session page online.