Since the closing of the University due to Hurricane Sandy, students have been running around like well-educated chickens with their heads cut off to figure out what assignments are due and how to catch up on over a week’s worth of course work. To further add to the disorganization of the revised syllabi and new due dates, students now have to deal with a change in the schedule for finals week.
President Gaffney sent a campus-wide email saying faculty members must schedule exams or examlike exercises before the semester ends on December 21. He also said that if take home final exams are used classes still must be held during the final examination week. This last week thereby meets the 15 week federal requirement.
The opinion of most of The Outlook editors is that the course work they were given at the beginning of the semester is not going to change. Very few professors altered the content of their syllabi due to the storm. Most due dates were adjusted accordingly, but most likely there will still be as many exams as there would have been without the storm.
Overall, the amount of work has not changed, but some students are confused as to what they have to do for their individual classes. Students are used to basing whether or not they have to go to class the last week of the semester on the exams they have to take. This year, both students and faculty members will have to adjust accordingly in order to be prepared for finals week.
Many of the editors said that they would be fine with the schedule change as long as they knew what was going on in their individual classes. Some professors have not yet figured out or explained to their students how final exams, papers and the last week of classes are going to play out, giving students less time to prepare. The syllabus for each class is different, so by losing nearly two weeks of class each student and professor will be affected differently. Some professors had to do some major reconstruction to the syllabus, while others just simply had to cut a few assignments.
Even if the changes to class schedules were clear, some of The Outlook editors still find the adjustments frustrating. Professors who opt for final exams still have to fit them into the end of the semester without designated exam periods and therefore still have to cram so many weeks of material into a shortened time. With students confused and overworked, and even possibly unaware of schedule changes, the always stressful final week of the semester just became that much more difficult.
Students don’t even get a reprieve during all of the schedule confusion. Once they catch up on the work they missed during the power outage it’s time to start cramming for finals. There has been no chance to take a breath and chances are students will not be able to until winter break.
When it comes down to it, the editors at The Outlook understand why it was necessary to change finals week to meet federal requirement. There was no other option that allowed students to go home after December 21. The Outlook staff is looking for from this new abrupt change of schedule is a more detailed breakdown from professors and faculty regarding their course work, and maybe a minute to relax. Many are thankful, however, that we do not have to return to the fall semester immediately following Christmas.