Lino Vargas

Oklahoma City Community College is an institution providing a direct and affordable path to attaining an associate’s degree. 

One of the key features in doing so, is the implementation of 8-week courses from traditional 16-week courses, where students have the opportunity to receive their degree faster.

Accelerated courses are meant to push the education of a student on the front end while saving them time in order to put them closer to their career. 

The decision came to fruition during the fall of 2020 and, according to OCCC, this “will be the first college in Oklahoma to make this important switch, that of which is designed to give students more flexibility.” 

Since then, two years have passed and both students and teachers have had time to reflect on the matter. 

For many students, the idea of graduating college faster is a no brainer, and many would do it in a heartbeat. Another issue at hand is what the practicality of this means to students? 

Former OCCC student Lino Vargas was eager to touch on the issues. 

“I don’t like taking 8-week courses. It’s definitely a lot more challenging. I would need more time to reflect on material since everything is moving so fast,” Vargas told the Pioneer.  

Of course, not every student is alike, some need more time and some get it right away. However, compressing that amount of work into half the time of a 16-week course will certainly bring some challenges — making perseverance an important quality to have. 

That is something that Professor Zeoli can agree with. 

Zeoli has expertise in mass media, so he knows a thing or two about what change can mean or do to a person. 

He has only been at OCCC for a full year of teaching, yet his love and passion for this school can only be labeled as admirable 

“These great leaps forward are necessary and usually end up being the new status quo that provide us a solid ground from which to act – but as the process occurs, finding the path through it can be arduous,” Zeoli said. 

Prof. Zeoli is right to acknowledge the potential of it but is also right to say that it won’t be a straight shot to success. 

“Finally, it is important to realize that we live in an era where change occurs so quickly that established knowledge can often not keep up with the march forward,” he said. 

His worry happens to be the core concern for many students who also have to juggle their own personal lives outside of school. 

That is the reality of squeezing months of assignments, quizzes, readings, tests, and finals into an 8-week course. 

Embrace time management where it becomes crucial during this period of learning. 

“My biggest challenge with 8-week courses are actually trying to learn the material. You really have to be focus and set any distractions on the side. I think that’s what makes it hard since it doesn’t give me much free time as 16 weeks courses do,” Vargas said. 

Studies show that students are more successful when they can focus their attention on fewer subjects at a time. 

Then again, the reflection of 8-week courses seems to be circumstantial when talking about students. 

“It’s not that we have ‘no’ understanding or research of these new modalities, we ‘do’ have more information and knowledge about these changes all the time, but I would also say that it is undeniable that the speed at which the culture has adopted new technologies, generated demand for new modes of knowledge acquisition and applied these within educational institutions has provided both innovative, inclusive and effective outcomes, but also challenges that can in some cases lessen the quality and utility of the endeavor,” Zeoli said. 

Broadcast Prof. Dr. David Zeoli

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