What to do with January?

January, in college life, is two to three weeks of no school. Community College Dean asks on his blog if there is a way to redeem January, for students who have barely passed and barely failed.

A student who limped across the finish line in, say, basic algebra may harbor a lingering doubt about being fully prepared for intermediate or college algebra. (Names change, but you get the idea.) For the student who escaped the Fall with a low passing grade and some lingering doubts, I’m wondering if a January catchup/review session might help them stay on track in the Spring. (Alternately, for the student who failed but came close in the Fall, I could envision an intensive review leading to a second shot at a final exam in January. The benefit would be that the student wouldn’t lose an entire semester by retaking the course in the Spring.) It’s a variation on the “summer bridge” idea, but somewhat looser. Rather than a graded course — which requires a certain number of hours, a set of assignments, and all the usual trappings — a noncredit review could be adjusted to meet demonstrated student need. If you only need, say, eight hours of review to get up to speed, good for you.

I think he might be on to something.

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