Posted at 10:07 p.m., Jan. 21, 2015

Trustees review seven different course blocks

The new block schedules for classes were reviewed by the Laramie County Community College Board of Trustees Jan. 21.
The most traditional block is the A16, which is the typical 16-week course, or a whole semester. The problem that occurred with having only this block, according to Dr. Jose Fierro, vice president of academic affairs, was the limited retention and flexibility, especially with students who registered late.

So now LCCC currently has seven different blocking options for classes, A16, A12, A8, B14, B12, B8 and 5-1-3. This may seem complicated, but it is actually fairly simple. All blocks beginning in an “A” start the same day, the first day of the semester. All blocks beginning with a “B” end on the same day, the last day of the semester. The corresponding number is how many weeks the course is in session.

It is important to note, however, each block covers the same amount of material as the regular 16-week block. For example, a B8 course will cover all the same material as the A16 course, but because it is half the time, it will go twice as fast. Five-week classes begin the first day of the semester and progress throughout the semester in sequential order, from 5-1, an intermediate course, to 5-3, an advanced course. This blocking method is primarily used for certification programs.

According to Fierro, this blocking method was created to eliminate late registration problems. He said a correlation exists between late registration and lower grades, lower completion rates and lower retention. The staggered start and end dates allow students to be more flexible, complete their degrees faster, and be better prepared for their classes, especially in the case of late registration or enrollment, he said.

Fierro also found students were often discouraged and tempted to drop their remedial courses during the typical 16-week block. Shorter classes, like an A8 or B8, help students move through their remedial classes faster and more efficiently, he said.  

Block schedule courses offer flexibility

The blocking schedule was created with the student enrollment process in mind. Students must apply, be accepted, attend orientation, be advised, register, purchase books, and, finally, they will be ready for the first day of classes. This process takes at least two weeks, so by starting a B14 course two weeks after the start of the semester, late enrolling students do not have to wait until next semester to attend LCCC.

Currently, the late start classes are primarily general education required courses.

There have been no issues regarding the Hathaway scholarship or other awards when taking advantage of the shorter courses, Fierro said.  

When registering, the start and end dates for each course are listed along with the times and specific days of the week the class will be held. Students should read these dates carefully to avoid any confusion regarding course start or finish dates.

Board of Trustees
Jan. 21, 2015 Agenda