By: A.J. Barnes, Student Writer

 After almost a year of discussing the upcoming change from sixteen-week semesters to eight-week terms with faculty and staff, OCCC has started promoting the shift directly to students in an “8 is great” campaign.

However, some students said they are unhappy that they weren’t told about the change sooner. Others said they believe they are being misled about how challenging the classes will be, and some are confused by the college’s promise of more flexible scheduling.

Oct. 29,  college administrators announced OCCC was going to launch a direct-to-student messaging campaign promoting the change to eight-week course according to documents obtained by the Pioneer.

The promotion consists of text messages, an email to students and an area on the OCCC homepage where students can submit questions and get answers.

Signs would soon also be placed around campus and billboards will go up around town.

Students said they had already heard about the change in classes and from their professors and peers, with some saying official information about the change should have come from the college much earlier.

Corey Smith, computer science, said he and his friends are upset and feel like the college doesn’t care about how they feel about the change.

He said he thinks the college should have shared the news with him before he started his program last spring.

“We are the customers. Why didn’t we know about this the first day we came to campus to sign up? Why didn’t they ask us what we wanted to do, what we want?”

“They knew they were going to do this, so why did they wait until I’m in this really hard program to tell me they were going to change. It’s like they wanted to get me in the door and take my money and then change the rules.”

Smith said he received a text message last week about the 2020 schedule change and is glad the college is finally sharing plans with students.

He said he’s heard contradictory information from some professors who he said claimed they weren’t sure what was going to happen with classes and the schedule.

“It’s good that we know more now but still I don’t know why we are the last ones to know? We are paying for this, and it affects us, so shouldn’t we be knowing a lot earlier?” Smith said.

Other students said they feel like they aren’t getting the full truth about the change because professors are being told to tell only the positives.

 Jules Lopez, liberal studies, said one of her professors told the class she was in that the professors were to only speak positively about the change to eight-week courses. 

She said there are likely going to be difficulties for students when taking classes in an accelerated format and the college needs to be clearer about them.

Information about the change on the college website at http://occc.edu/8weeks/index.html  tells only benefits of the faster-paced course such as how students who have taken eight-week course outperform those in longer classes and how students in others states have supported eight-week courses.

“It’s like if you buy a car and the person only tells you the positives about it. I get they are trying to sell us on it, but not telling the whole truth is lying [by omission], right?” Lopez said.

“We might be young, but we’re not dumb. Some of these classes, I can’t take in eight weeks and pass. It’s already too hard in 16 weeks.

“Just tell the truth so we can get ready or know that we need to go to a different school.”

Still other students said they were pleased official word from the administration was finally coming out.

But they are confused about how the change will increase schedule flexibility as the promotional materials state.

Tony Boyd, undeclared, said he doesn’t understand how being required to take classes that are “too fast and go twice as long each day” offers flexibility.

“I don’t get it. I can only take two classes each period, and they have to be [eight weeks]. And each class period is going to be maybe 3 hours long.  That’s the opposite of being flexible,” he said.   

Students may have a lot of questions now that the college is directing its message about the change directly to them.

Students can submit any question to the college by accessing the homepage.

There, students can click on a black and white image near the top of the page with the wording “8 is great”, “Bold change. Bold success” and be taken to a webpage about the eight-week changes.

Students who have questions or concerns are encouraged to email them to  8weeks@occc.edu. The first 10 students to send questions will receive a FREE “8 is Great” T-shirt. 

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