Brock University ‘Supercourse’ saves time and money

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Brock University ‘Supercourse’ saves time and money

Apr. 27, 2010

Thanks to innovative programming at Brock, students can now finish a full-year eight-month course in two weeks, saving them and the University precious time and money.

The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., has launched the two-week “Supercourse,” a new concept that allows students to receive two semester course credits in a fraction of the time.

The Social Sciences context credit, “Introduction to Community Health Sciences,” covers a wide variety of health topics including cancer, heart disease, aging, healthy environment and psychological health.

It is an intensive study schedule, with two weeks of daily lectures and seminars from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by Saturday exams each week. An informal third week will be provided to allow students to rewrite two of their daily tests if they choose.

The dedicated format may actually help students retain the information, said Brent Faught, associate professor of Epidemiology, who teaches the course with lecturer Madelyn Law. It also allows for eight more hours of contact time with the professor compared to the traditional delivery of this course.

The timing of the first course, which begins May 3, also frees students to pursue summer jobs, he said.

“We designed it to fit the schedules and needs of students,” Faught said. “There are a lot of economic benefits to it as well as actual learning.”

The Supercourse also falls into Brock’s mandate of finding new and innovative ways to educate, and it represents a bit of revolutionary thinking for the University, says Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Murray Knuttila.

“Innovative teaching initiatives like this are partly driven by the financial realities facing universities these days,” says Knuttila. “Schools have to start thinking in different ways about teaching and learning. This is a bold example from Applied Health Sciences of that philosophy in action here at Brock and we are working to copy or adapt this model in other areas at the University.”

Anna Lathrop, Associate Dean of Applied Health Sciences, says universities must remain current and attuned to new ways of teaching and engaging students. “We must be relevant in their lives,” she said, “and allow students to take more responsibility for learning, and also be sensitive to the real world that requires them to pursue their degree within a context of life and work.”

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