MISHAWAKA—Between the fall and spring semester, Bethel offered students the opportunity to take advantage of the unusually long winter break by enrolling in a 3-week accelerated online class. A total of 8 classes were offered and, according to Vice President for Academic Services Barb Bellefeuille, Ph.D., about 100 Bethel students participated, along with approximately 15 students from other universities.
Bellefeuille credits Dale Dan, Ph.D., for overseeing the planning process.
“[Dr. Dale Dan] is our new director of online education, she joined us last summer... and she did almost all of the training of faculty in preparation for this,” Bellefeuille said. “A lot of input, a lot of designing of the classes, things like that. She was the mastermind behind that.”
As to the success of winter term, Bellefeuille said the first thing she prefers to look at is the number of dropouts, and while a few people chose to drop their class before the term started, none of the 100 Bethel students who began the term dropped out.
“I thought that was fantastic,” Bellefeuille said.
Bellefeuille added that what was said from the students and faculty was overwhelmingly positive.
“As far as the idea of a winter term, I think it was strong, positive feedback,” Bellefeuille said.
Bellefeuille said that, not only did students offer favorable responses, but they also experienced strong academic success as well, with the majority passing their classes.
While it is unlikely that Bethel students will experience another six-week winter break in future school years, Bellefeuille is arranging the Fall 2021 schedule to allow for a four-week break, so that winter term can be offered again.
“Actually, I think this next winter term will be a better indication as to whether it will work for Bethel,” Bellefeuille said. “This was a good, good start and it had good feedback; but let’s face it, it was under the six-week break and not a good comparison to a typical break.”
If enrollment numbers and feedback for Winter Term 2021 are as successful as they were this year, winter term may become an annual offering.