The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

El Camino proposes block schedule to maximize students’ time

Academic+Senate+meeting+attendees+discuss+agenda+items+on+Tuesday%2C+May+21.+Block+schedules+aimed+at+making+more+class+classes+with+set+starting+and+end+times+to+reduce+student+scheduling+conflicts+was+presented+at+the+meeting.+%28Johan+Van+Wier+%7C+The+Union%29
Academic Senate meeting attendees discuss agenda items on Tuesday, May 21. Block schedules aimed at making more class classes with set starting and end times to reduce student scheduling conflicts was presented at the meeting. (Johan Van Wier | The Union)

Block schedules aimed at making more class classes with set starting and end times to reduce student scheduling conflicts is being proposed.

The main purpose of the new block schedule is to reduce the variety of class start times at El Camino College and make the new schedule follow a timetable for classes to start and end.

“The goal is to allow the students that are on campus to try to maximize their time so that it’s easier for students to take back-to-back classes,” Carlos Lopez, the vice president of Academic Affairs, said.

During the May 21 Academic Senate meeting Lopez said the college has over a hundred different start times and the current system is “all over the place.”

The new schedule will establish a more uniform timetable with blocks for Monday-Wednesday and Tuesday-Thursday classes. The goal is to have block schedules set for the 2024 winter and 2025 spring semesters.

The block schedule would have set times so all classes would start at 8:00 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

This would make it easier making it easier for students to know the times when classes start so it’s easier for them to pick classes without any overlapping.

“The gaps in their classes are overlapping…they might have to wait hours and hours [to take each class] and when that happens students don’t wait around, typically, students have lives, they’ll go to work or they’ll go home, it makes it harder,” Lopez said.

Darcie McClelland, Academic Senate vice president of Educational Policies, is also a STEM professor and knows how beneficial having different class start times could be.

“For my students, it’s going to have a huge impact… I teach in STEM and so for my students, it means them being able to get their [biology], [chemistry] and math all in the same semester that they need to be able to graduate on time,” McClelland said.

Block schedules accommodate the unique needs of certain courses, such as labs and cohort programs like nursing, which may require non-standard meeting times to accommodate their specific requirements​.

“There are some caveats to this, I want to be clear, the goal is to try to get more than the majority of our classes under this block schedule but there’s no perfect clock schedule [anywhere I have worked],” Lopez said.

However, the proposed changes raised concerns. A meeting attendee on Zoom had questions on how this would affect the quick switching of classes for professors.

“One thing that I noticed is the very tight timelines from when one course ends, and another one begins. If you’re sharing a classroom with somebody, a lot of times that requires setup,” the attendee said. “The best time to catch students, if you’re concerned about them not doing well in the class or have been dodging your emails, is right after class.”

Lopez responded to the attendee’s concern by saying the set amount of time between classes in the block schedule plan is normal.

“10 minutes is kind of the standard across the state. So that’s not abnormal and it’s the best utilization of our spaces… If there’s nothing in the roadmap for you, there’s no need to schedule back-to-back in some spaces… We need to start trying to use our spaces on campus to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

The goal is to have block schedules set for the 2024 winter and 2025 spring semesters.

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