Before the epidemic, spring and autumn enrollment (up or down) was usually the summer enrollment aspect as well. As enrollment increases, it increases throughout the season; When it went down, it went down all year.
The epidemic disconnects between the summer and what we sometimes call the “long” semester. Summer (and the intersection of January) increases with the onset of spring and autumn. This year, less at the beginning of summer and towards the end of summer.
Your idea is as good as mine.
Other great connections have been disconnected by modality. In the most recent fall and spring, we have seen a general trend towards private classes. But this year, summer demand for online classes was proportionately higher than expected. I assume that summer work is related to the labor market, especially here, where summer tourism is a major industry even in ordinary years, let alone one year if there is a labor shortage. Asynchronous online classes are easy to work around in part-time shifts.
The connection between the summer and the long semester can be educational. For example, summer sessions are shorter: the first and third sessions combine the two sections every six weeks, the second 10-week. (Long semester 15 weeks.) The idea is that in summer, students take fewer classes at once but spend more hours each week.
Results are consistent: pass rates are higher in summer classes. (January class pass rates are the highest.) This is even true if we filter out “visiting” students who matriculate in four years of school and take summer classes with us with the intention of bringing them back. I even asked the IR office to compare the GPA of spring and fall students with the GPA of our summer students to see if the high pass rate is the result of student self-selection. GPA was the same. The main difference is that there is more time for less work.
Before the epidemic, the early summer session felt a bit like the spring session. It is strongly attracted to full-time faculty, who may earn extra money for teaching in late May and late June, and still have July and August to do other work. The divisions were often buzzing until June. The early summer still attracts a lot of full-time faculty, but with a lot of summer going online, the feeling on campus is significantly calmer.
One of the best classes I’ve ever taught is a summer class filled with honors students from the area’s high school. They couldn’t even fake the annoyance that many older students displayed, so they jumped on both legs. It was glorious. A class like the American government often involves the removal of myths like real education, but they were blessedly uncomfortable, so we were able to get right to the good things. And since we met four days a week, the lessons were fresh enough in their minds that there was no need for too many reviews for class discussions. Yes, the classroom was sometimes very hot, but it was worth it.
I don’t know if the new disconnection between summer enrollment and semester enrollment will be the new normal, or whether it’s still working through the epidemic-related turbulence system. I hope this is next, but it’s too early to say.
Wise and worldly reader, do you see similar fluctuations in other places?