Leftover Christmas cookies, discarded present wrappings and the smell of gingerbread fill the house. Snow falls on the slopes outside, illuminating the landscape in a sea of white. Your books lay on the floor and you type away on your computer. It’s the perfect Christmas break…except it’s not a break; it’s intersession.


This school year is the first year RIT has implemented semesters, creating different opportunities and experiences for all students. One of the changes that most students seem confused about is intersession, a three week period for students to get ready for the next round of classes. A benefit of intersession is that students are allowed to take a class over this break. Topics ranging from Writing to Criminal Justice introduce new experiences for students and help accelerate them on their path to success.


Classes held over intersession will be taught in a very different manner than those taught during semesters. Students and faculty will be working together for three hours each day.  The classes are meant to give students a different experience and to test out an entirely new discipline which they may have never come in contact with.


“There are opportunistic courses for those who want to try a very different experience,” Fernando Naveda, supervisor for semester conversion, stated. “We wanted faculty to develop courses that could only be taught over intersession.” Naveda has been guiding faculty to develop intersession courses that gets students more involved. “The classes will be taught through a completely different model… It’s very hard to teach students through a three hour course. This means that the faculty will have to keep students engaged in the learning process with a different learning model.”


David Martins, associate professor in the English department, is teaching an academic writing course during the intersession. He believes that the intersession courses represent a new opportunity to develop skills in other areas that might not have been reached previously. “In some ways, it will be a challenge to help students develop those skills given the short time frame that we have,” said Martins. “Because this course in particular is trying to give students the experience in improving their own writing and helping others [to] improve their writing, it really intensifies the experience.”


Martins and other faculty involved in intersession are working to develop class material that will tie in with current events. “In a semester course, you don’t always have that ability to keep up to date with the news,” Martins said. “But in a three week course, the student is able to keep up with news as its happening. You want to write about public policy? All right, let’s start examining the government shutdown.”


An advantage of these classes is that they allow students to raise their grades by one letter. In other words, these courses will allow students to raise an “F” to a “D” or a “D” to a “C.” However, there will be no credit given to a student whose grade drops from a passing to failing; these classes can only raise his or her GPA. Despite this advantage, many students seem to be unaware of the new intersession classes. Emily Prado, an International Business major, said: “It’s nice to see that kind of opportunity arise; however, I wish they made it more vocal. It wasn’t apparent to me that you could do that.”


When asked about the cost of these classes, Naveda stated: “Instead of trying to find the money to take a class for fifteen weeks, you just need to find the resources to stay for three weeks.” This allows students to experiment with new disciplines and experiences without having to spend the money on a fifteen week course. Tuition is charged at a 30 percent discount per credit compared to tuition during the normal academic year. However, your financial aid may vary in how much of the cost it covers.


Intersession will take place from January 3 to January 21. Students can enroll in classes the same time as enrollment for the spring semester occurs — starting November 14 on the SIS system. The full list of classes, along with tuition and housing information, can be found on www.rit.edu/tigerterms.