Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Our Opinion: Snow days prevent students from getting their money’s worth

A USM snow plow clears the roads on the Gorham Campus two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the semester USM students have been snowed-out of their classes five times.
Patrick Higgins
A USM snow plow clears the roads on the Gorham Campus two weeks ago. Since the beginning of the semester USM students have been snowed-out of their classes five times.

Posted on February 09, 2015 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

If there’s one more snow day spree at USM, we’re not sure how students are going to get what they’re paying for out of their courses.

It’s becoming difficult to keep focused and stay concentrated on our studies with constant interruptions, and with most professors kicking class into high-gear to catch up on the syllabus before the end of the year, we’re speeding through readings and assignments that should really take more time.

At what point should students start wondering if their money is being put to good use? Generally, most professors start slashing students’ grades when students don’t show up and three or four absences can sometimes result in automatic failing grades. But if three or four classes are missed due to weather, students aren’t refunded any of the cost for that class and are often forced into working double-duty for the rest of the semester to meet expectations the professor had set beforehand.

If we’re scheduled to read, go over and complete assignments over two chapters in a text book, it isn’t reasonable to jam another five chapters and terse analysis into an hour because of decisions made by the administration. In some courses, class topics are sometimes completely ignored or passed over because of cancellations and students miss out on pieces of what they’re paying for. And we know for certain there are students out there that are generally bummed at missing class content.

It isn’t fair for students to be charged for classes they aren’t attending. It’s like canceling a show at the State Theater and not refunding anyone who purchased tickets.

It’s been snowing a lot in Maine. That’s unavoidable. But maybe more preventative snow removal and facilities action could reduce the number of classes that students miss. Even days after a storm, students are forced to trudge through snow and slush covering heavily used walkways and parking is still limited because of snow on campus.

We’re paying students and we desire to learn. We know you can’t control the weather, but any more snow days are going to seriously put us behind schedule, which we hope won’t cause us to frantically be catching up by the time finals come around.

 

 

  • KJ P

    While it’s true most studying takes place outside of the classroom, I am in the interesting position of having a lab class on Mondays, meaning I have missed over 4 classes between MLK day and snow cancellations. This means that the corresponding Wednesday lab is at least 4 weeks ahead of us. Unfortunately, for lab classes, the assignments cannot be completed without actually doing the physical lab work.

  • Try Again

    If only there was something you could do like continue to read ahead or study your material. I mean, it’s not like professors provide syllabi with a list of goals and assignments.

    If you’re worried that you just simply will miss out by having a day or two off, then look at your work instead of dicking around or drinking like hordes of the on campus kids do.

  • Jennifer Ditano

    I don’t follow the author’s argument.

    “If we’re scheduled to read, go over and complete assignments over two
    chapters in a text book, it isn’t reasonable to jam another five
    chapters and terse analysis into an hour because of decisions made by
    the administration. In some courses, class topics are sometimes
    completely ignored or passed over because of cancellations and students
    miss out on pieces of what they’re paying for. And we know for certain
    there are students out there that are generally bummed at missing class
    content.”

    Assuming that “class topics” are actually “completely ignored or passed over” and that professors are trying to “jam another five chapters and terse analysis into an hour,” wouldn’t a better solution be to ask professors to use Blackboard as a means to post assignments and recorded lectures during the snow day (as my own professors have done)? The last thing we need is to encourage bus drivers and commuters to risk driving in inclement weather. It is not the administration’s fault that we have had several moderate to severe storms in the last two weeks… let’s not berate them for trying to be safe.

    Additionally – the majority of test preparation (studying) is done outside of the classroom! As long as reading assignments and supplemental materials are posted in a timely manner and professors hold office hours, students should not “frantically be catching up by the time finals come around,” even if several lectures were missed. After all, for “paying students” with a “desire to learn,” a snow day means an extra day to get that reading done!