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Finals Week structure an adjustment for students, staff

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In the final push toward Winter Break, some students still have mixed feelings on the new structure of Finals Week.

Students were given a Reading Day last Wednesday,a day off from classes before finals began the next day. For the first time in recent history, Finals Week was split up over two the duration of two weeks.

Some said they liked the new structure for Finals Week.

Mark Gardner, a third-year in the health sciences program, said the new schedule helps alleviate the workload of studying by having finals.

As for Reading Day, it was mostly a “day to relax,” he said “It felt nice too.”

Sara Campbell, a second-year in finance, agreed. “I like how we get an extra weekend to study,” she said. “Though I don’t like having more exams to take.”

However, some students said they still preferred Finals Week as it was on the quarter system.

“I like to have it all in one week,” said Jessica Durbin, a second-year in international business administration.

Durbin said finals are spread out more in semesters, which she thinks encourage less studying compared to quarters. “I work well under pressure,” she said laughing, “I rather have it closer together.”

Furthermore, even some faculty members welcomed the new layout.

“I know how busy the end of term is for my students,” said Maura Heaphy, an English lecturer, in an email. “I approve of anything in the schedule that gives them time to collect their thoughts, and prepare themselves for exams and final papers.

“As long as the schedule allows the instructors adequate time to submit grades, then I think a Reading Day is a good idea,” she added. “If that allows students to pace themselves as they prepare for finals, then it’s a welcome side-effect.”

Three years ago finals week was the first thing tackled by a subcommittee created by the Council on Enrollment and Student Progress to develop the academic calendar for the 2012-2013 year, said University Registrar Brad Myers.

“We worked our way backwards,” he said.

The university had looked at other institutions that were similar to OSU, which were on the semester system, and how they structured their finals week, Myers said.

The subcommittee had decided to increase the number of days devoted to finals week from three and half to five, he said adding that student leadership also requested for the consideration of a Reading Day.

There were also requests from faculty to have extra time between the last day of finals and commencement so that there was enough time to process grades, Myers said. That way the university can continue to give students their actual diplomas on Commencement Day, he said.

The subcommittee went backwards while trying to fit in one reading day, five days of finals and 70 days of instruction, Myers said.

This involved simply putting the “puzzle pieces together,” that resulted in finals week being split up by a weekend, he said. This led to some discussion of whether finals should take place during the weekend as some universities do so, Myers said.

However, student leadership and some religious groups were strongly against it, he said. Ultimately it was decided that finals week would be split up by a weekend, Myers said.

“It worked out pretty nice to find that balance,” he said.  

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