My Experience In A 6-Day Course
I went into my first year at university without an older sibling or friend who could show me the ropes. I was never 100% about what I was doing but each semester, I became more familiar with the routines. Though, I always figured that everyone went through it all in pretty much the same way.
Course registration opens up and we all register for four or five courses per semester. The semester comes to an end, we stress through our finals, we wait for our grades. End. Rinse and repeat each semester. In four or five years you’re done. But, after a few years of going through the motions without really exploring, I realized that there were countless options when it comes to designing the layout of your degree.
Not only are there opportunities like co-ops and semesters abroad but there are also options when it comes to the kinds of courses you want to take. Year-long courses, experiential classes, online courses, and accelerated courses are only some options. You can get so much out of your experience by really seeking out cool opportunities.
Before getting any further I will provide a warning: I speak only with the knowledge of my own experiences. I know various programs have quite a strict structure for working through required courses and it’s always a great idea to seek out the help of an academic advisor to make sure you’re on the right track.
Something I had never really heard of until last year were intensive or accelerated courses. I knew that sometimes online courses had different time frames for completion but for the most part I thought all classes lasted one semester.
It wasn’t until a friend told me about a really interesting course from my department that I found out. This course was being offered over 6 days! That’s right. Just six days. It was scheduled to start in early January over the course of two weekends. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, from 9AM to 4PM, for two weeks.
Outside of interest in the topic of the course, the idea of an accelerated course really appealed to me. I often took five courses a semester which at times was incredibly work-load heavy. If I could completely finish 1 of my 5 courses within the first month, I would be able to put more time and energy into my other classes and maybe I wouldn’t feel as drained. So, with all this in mind, I had a burst of confidence and registered for the course.
I can’t speak to all accelerated courses. In fact, this course might have been even more outside of the norm due to its topic.
The class focus was on the relationships between Indigenous language and the land. Plants and animals were key in understanding these relationships and as a result on two class days we spent a good portion of the day outdoors, not to mention the fact that the course did not actually take place on the UVic campus.
To really explore the themes of language and land the course took place at the ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱ Tribal School in Brentwood Bay! The class usually followed a discussion-circle format and featured a variety of guest speakers. All in all, not your typical course.
The amount of content that we were meant to get through in those six days was substantial. Over the two weekends I spent in this class, I was not really able to do any work for any other class. Because of the accelerated nature of the course, it also meant that each assessment was worth a lot of my mark since there wasn’t time to distribute the grade further. This meant that relatively small assignments would be worth 20% or 30% and the final project was worth 50%.
It was definitely a stressful and draining six days. But spending about 8 hours a day with this class also meant we got to know each other quickly. We became comfortable around each other. We helped and encouraged each other. We became a family.
Would I suggest any accelerated course to everyone? No! But I would absolutely suggest this accelerated course: LING 379 – Language and Land, because of the content, instructor, format, and the experience I was able to have.
I would also suggest looking into other accelerated courses or courses of different formats. Creating a semester or year or degree that appeals to you, that gives you variety, that drives you, and that encourages you to learn is what really makes the learning experience worth it. So, explore your options! And tell me all about the cool classes or opportunities you’ve been able to experience.