Quarters to Semesters

Starting in 2012 Ohio University will be switching to semesters due to a state mandate soon-to-be put into place. The first thought that comes to mind when students think of the switch from quarters to semesters is very simple: what about winter intersession? Students use the six-week winter break as time for a job or internship. However, some students reply with the fact that we will be out earlier for summer, giving them more time for a job and internship then. 

Journalism advisors and department leaders have been hard at work to put together the new curriculum.

Currently, under quarters,  the college has six sequences: advertising, broadcast news, magazine journalism, news writing & editing, online journalism and public relations. There is also an option to create your own sequence with Carr Van Anda. Under semesters the school will adopt two tracks: news information and strategic communication.

  • Broadcast news, magazine journalism, news writing & editing and online journalism will make up the news information track. This track is geared toward informing the public about news and information.
  • Public relations and advertising will fall into the strategic communication track. this track is geared toward the common goal of conveying a message on behalf of a company or organization.

Currently, the journalism school has a requirement of seven core journalism courses each student must take. Under semesters, there will only be four core classes: Journalism and Society, News Writing, Communication Law and Ethics.

“I would recommend that if you take News Writing your freshman year (next year) that you take Info Gathering as well (that year), ” Dr. Robert Stewart said, Director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Currently students are required to take is precision language; this class is basically known as “grammar on steroids.” Although it will not be a core journalism class, students will be required to take it if they score below a 620 on the SAT Reading or below a 28 on the ACT English. There will also be a testing option to test out of the class.

Another key difference is that under quarters a student typically had to take prerequisites before building up to higher classes. For example, if I wanted to take Radio Broadcast News I would have had to take News Writing before hand to be able to sign up for it. Under semesters, the goal is to give students a possibility to take a variety of journalism classes besides their main interest to broaden the students background.

For those interested in the current program Carr Van Anda, an option for students who like to mix sequences, you will still have the possibility of doing a similar program. Besides your main classes, you will have the opportunity to take elective classes in your other journalism interests. There will be a flexibility as to what type of journalism classes you can take under semesters. This is something administrators have been pushing for.

One other interesting question incoming freshman and returning students may ask is what will happen to the language requirement. The journalism school will still require you to take a full year of a language either in quarters or semesters. 

“I encourage freshman to focus on their Ohio University requirements and their core requirements during their first two years,” Stewart said, “The most basic advantage to the semester system is flexibility. Another advantage is that courses are longer. Instead of a 10 week sprint you have 4 more weeks of projects, and creating a more in depth paper and overall study. You will also be much more available for internship schedules.”

I would personally suggest taking Journalism and Society and News Writing  your freshman year. During your only year of quarters take as much as you can and get as much as you can out of the way. During your freshman and sophomore year your main focus should be on your core journalism classes and your basic college requirements. The goal should be to get those done with by the end of sophomore year.

For more information, and a check sheet of what courses students will take, click here.


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