By Dexter LeRuez
The spring semester at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) is weeks away and while students begin to plan their summer classes, intensive courses are the hidden gem for students who want to get credits fast.
TMU’s Chang School of Continuing Education offers several accelerated classes which can provide students with full course credits in as little as one week.
A TikTok posted last month by TMU student user @jehossica went viral after she told viewers about the different credits she has earned in less than a week. “I’m just trying to not gatekeep because these are literally the best thing ever,” she said.
The Chang School’s intensive courses for the spring semester will begin in May. Enrollment is open until the day before the class starts, according to academic coordinator of interdisciplinary studies, Amy Clements-Cortes. She recommends signing up in advance to avoid technical difficulties and overbooked courses.
Course set ups vary from professor to professor, with the option of completing the course online or in the classroom, according to the Chang School website.
“It’s just a different way of learning,” said Clements-Cortes. “Some people like that mixed in with the regular 13-week semester.”
The accelerated format also helps those who learn better in a more intense and immersive learning experience, said Gary Hepburn, Dean of The Chang School, in an emailed statement to The Eyeopener. Undergraduate students typically find these courses more manageable during the Spring and Summer terms, provided they have enough time available to fulfill the course requirements.
“This is so worth it to me, especially because I’m someone who likes to finish something as quick as possible and I like to get my assignments done super quick,” said user @jehossica in her TikTok.
Intensive courses put a more significant focus on collaborative group work as opposed to exams and tests, said Stanley Chase, a lecturer at The Chang School who has taught intensive courses at TMU since 2017. “Almost half the course’s grade comes from group work.”
However, intensive courses aren’t a good fit for everyone, said Chase.
The workload required in such a short period can be difficult for students with other commitments, such as work or other classes, added Clements-Cortes.
“You need to have the same amount of time that you would dedicate to an online course,” she said “The best advice is to make sure that you don’t have competing things going on that week.”
However, some students don’t even know that these courses are available. Third-year business management student Nicholas Carvalho hadn’t heard of the Chang School’s intensive courses prior to his interview with The Eye.
“I’ve heard of The Chang School, obviously,” said Carvalho. “If [classes are] kind of hard during a semester, you push stuff to Chang. But the one-week intensive [classes]? Nah.”
Apart from a page on the Chang School website about the accelerated courses, TMU doesn’t make the information easily available on its course calendar site.
Some students, such as business technology management third-year Shadow Vidal, believe that the University should do a better job promoting these courses to the TMU student body.
“It would have been nice to know that that was an option,” said Vidal. “I probably would have done it sooner, if anything.”
Intensive courses allow students a new pathway in their university learning experience, said Chase.
“It’s not until we sometimes challenge ourselves in that way that we find out more about what we’re made of,” said Chase. “Personality-wise, our strengths and weaknesses.”