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Iowa State’s Online Classes Popular With Juniors and Seniors

The university’s first-ever online winter session attracted over 2,200 students, almost three-quarters of whom were juniors and seniors. The university is preparing this year’s course list with upperclassmen in mind.

Iowa State University
(TNS) — Iowa State University plans to continue an online winter class session that was created because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that unexpectedly benefitted upperclassmen.

Iowa State’s Ann Marie VanDerZanden was among representatives of the state’s three public universities who spoke Wednesday to the Iowa Board of Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee about how the institutions adapted to online learning because of the pandemic.

VanDerZanden, the university’s associate provost for academic programs, said Iowa State’s winter session last year was the first time it had offered such a program.

She said more than 2,200 students — a mix of Iowa residents and not — used the session, generating more than 6,000 credit hours.

What was a surprise, however, was that 72 percent of the students who enrolled were juniors and seniors — of that, 45 percent were seniors, VanDerZanden said.

The success of the winter session means that the university will continue it this year, she said, and course lists being worked on now are being refined with the interest from upperclassmen in mind.

She said university officials expected that it would be a little shorter in duration, but still long enough to meet credit hour requirements.

According to information available online through Iowa State, this year’s optional winter session will begin Dec. 20 and end Jan. 14. The fall semester ends Dec. 17, and the spring semester is scheduled to start Jan. 18.

Tuition for the winter session cost $348 per credit hour for Iowa residents, $1,006 per hour for non-residents and $1,077 per hour for international students — the same as during the fall and spring semesters.

Students’ total credit loads from the winter and spring sessions will be combined to determine financial aid eligibility.

VanDerZanden also expected that this year’s winter session would offer about 50 course options again.

She said the goal is to have a list of courses published before registration starts, which would be in early October.

Most classes last year were through the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Business, though there were also offerings in agriculture, design, engineering, human sciences and library science.

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