University of Central Florida College of Business Administration students are fed up with the school’s push to reduce time spent in the classroom.
Over 1,000 people have signed a petition to reform the college after the school instituted a “reduced seat time” classroom model for its primary business classes.
“This petition was forged in order to bring to light the dissatisfaction from a vast number of business students,” the petition states.
In this new classroom setting, students only attend five class meetings per semester. During these meetings, students aren’t taught the material, but instead work on various group projects. These classes are mandatory and students are required to receive a “B” average to be accepted into their respective majors. Students said the new program is forcing them teach themselves.
“I chose UCF for the traditional learning styles,” student John Nazario said. “If I wanted an entirely online class where I had to teach myself, I would have chosen a school with cheaper tuition.”
Knights for COBA Reform leader, Michael Wensinger said that UCF is claiming it has only received positive feedback on program. However, Wensinger said students he has spoken to have said the opposite.
“The dean is getting feedback on it but it’s all good feedback,” Wensinger said. “Which is obviously not true. I don’t know where he’s getting his feedback from but he thinks people are loving it, which is clearly not the case.”
Knight News reached out to College of Business Administration Dean, Paul Jarley ,who did not immediately respond.
This new reduced seat time format may be having an impact on student’s grades. Accounting for Decision Makers Professor Ray Sturm sent an email to students saying the poor marks on the first test were not a surprise given the new format.
“Ok, we made it through the first exam and the grades are a little lower than they have been in the past, but not too bad,” Sturm wrote. “This is not a surprise given that the new RA course format that is required by the College of Business is new for all of us. The new format for all of the core courses is not my idea, so if you do not like it, please don’t complain to me/us because there is nothing I can do about it. Go to the College of Business. In any case, the average on the exam was 68% which is a little lower than the 71% average in the spring semester.”
To address students concerns, Wensinger and his group recommends that the college create a hybrid of the old recorded lecture video/live class setting and the reduced seat time. Wensigner wants the college to let students chose to either go to class or watch a video online some weeks. Then other weeks, make students attend a reduce seat time class where they will meet to complete group assignments.
After the publication of this article, Dean Jarley issued the following response:
“We’re aware of the petition and we’ve been talking directly with students, including the petition organizer, about their concerns. This course format— an active, blended learning format that combines video, digital and in-class components—is not new to the college. We implemented the first courses last fall. The change was motivated by research across a variety of universities that shows that blended learning formats— those that use a combination of online and face-to-face adaptive learning—outperform all other formats in encouraging student learning. The old format known as lecture capture produced the lowest average grades on campus of any format used by the university. While the courses are not perfect yet, we’ve been encouraged by the results and student feedback we’ve received over the past three semesters. Our faculty continue to meet regularly to discuss the challenges and opportunities the courses present and the changes that can be made to improve them. We’re all about engagement at the college and we absolutely welcome student input in this process. We also encourage students to continue to talk with their faculty and department chairs regarding their individual courses and to take advantage of the course resources and office hours available to them.”