English and math faculty at Truckee Meadows Community College have recently built an innovative schedule for English and math core classes, offering many plusses for students in addition to a well-timed schedule.
Core, or gateway, English and math courses are being offered for Spring Semester in blocks that make an optimum class timetable easy to put together. English 101 and 102 fit into sections of times that dovetail right in front of, or right after, Math 096 and 126. Students can complete their basic prerequisites in one semester.
“It’s great because you can accelerate your academic progress, fulfill the primary prerequisites for other classes, and move forward,” said Bridgett Blaque, English Professor.
Example One: Section 5003 and 5004 Block of Classes
Jan. 23–Mar. 9
- ENG 101 (#21296) 8–9:20 a.m.
- MATH 096 (#23637) 9:30–10:50 a.m.
Mar. 27–May 11
- ENG 102 (#21299) 8–9:20 a.m.
- MATH 126 (#23641) 9:30–10:50 a.m.
The block scheduling consists of the first English and math classes taken for seven weeks, a two-week break around midterm, and then another seven-week block of English and math.
“The two-week breather in the middle also gives students extra time to prepare for midterms in their other full-semester courses, because they’re finished with the first two seven-week English and math classes,” Blaque said.
Example Two: Section 5004 and 5005 Block of Classes
Jan. 23–Mar. 9
- MATH 096 (#21985) 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
- ENG 101 (#33414) 12:30–1:50 p.m.
Mar. 27–May 11
- MATH 126 (#23642) 11 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
- ENG 102 (#33434) 12:30–1:50 p.m.
Another plus for students is reduced cost—by completing the courses in one semester, the path to graduation is faster. Textbook cost is also lower.
“Professor Douglass and I work together to make English 101 and 102 almost seamless, using the same text, designing a continuous curriculum,” she said. “It’s a seamless experience and there is only one book to buy for both English courses.”
One more benefit is that there has typically been more student success and fewer withdrawals for the shorter, more intense sections.
“Drop rates have been low and students like getting the course done when they know it’s only seven weeks,” she added. “That’s only two weeks longer than a summer course.”
Small Class Size, Lower Tuition, Free Parking
Students also study core subjects in smaller classes than at a four-year institution, with the opportunity for more individual attention and mentoring. Tuition is less than half the cost for students who take their lower division core requirements at TMCC than at a public four-year university, such as the University of Nevada, Reno or the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Parking at TMCC is free.
TMCC Alumnus Quest Vankirk said in a June TMCC college news story that he was happy with his decision to take math and science classes at TMCC, rather than at a four-year school.
“The calculus and physics classes were much smaller and the professors were personable," Vankirk said. “Specifically, Dan Loranz and Kurt Ehlers were the two best teachers I've ever encountered. They both have a knack for making sure all of their students are understanding the material.”