Learning in the Off-Season

Take the books outside this summer.

Take the books outside this summer.

Taylor Fife

As the weather in New England begins to warm up, thousands of students at UMass Boston, and millions across the country, are beginning to plan their summers. The Division of Corporate, Continuing, and Distance Education at UMass Boston is trying to encourage students, and everyone in the Boston area, to take classes at the Columbia Point campus over the summer months.

“We’re a great place to take summer courses for a variety of reasons,” Brian Middleton, director of enrollment and marketing for CCDE, said. “One of [the reasons] is the quality of the classroom experience, and we do attract not only a lot matriculated UMass Boston students, but a fair number of students from other area universities, because people are aware of the quality of the classroom experience here and the value of it.”

According to Middleton the summer program at UMass Boston is one of the largest in the area, offering more than 500 courses, including 60 online courses.

This summer there are courses offered in almost every academic discipline and major. There are courses offered from several colleges, including Liberal Arts, Management, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Science and Mathematics. Graduate courses are being offered as well.

One of the most interesting things the university has to offer over the summer is a wide variety of international programs. Students can study in Amsterdam, Ireland, China, Mexico, Belize or Paris, and can select from a wide range of topics to study. International summer programs typically offer three to six credits.

Middleton described the international programs as “a great opportunity for people to get deeply into a subject in an environment that’s a little more stimulating or just different from a classroom routine.”

The international programs can also serve as a great way to travel during the summer, without having to give up earning credits.

Another way that students can reconcile travel plans and school is through online courses. These courses can be taken from anywhere with an Internet connection and do not require students to be in the area.

CCDE is also offering an art program on Nantucket focused on outdoor painting. Also on Nantucket there will be biology classes, both for the beginning and the seasoned science student.

“There are a lot of advantages to it,” Middleton said of taking summer courses. “It is especially useful for people who might have jobs. Taking a course in the summer allows them to spread things out a little bit, be more flexible.”

Another appeal of taking summer courses is to fulfill distribution or diversity requirements. This allows students to focus on important courses for their majors during the fall or spring, or allows students to spend the longer semesters studying things they find particularly interesting.

Summer courses can also allow students who wish to branch out a little bit more in academics but find that their schedule too quickly fills up with major requirements. For math majors hoping to learn more about music, or English majors that want some business knowledge, summer school might be the place to do it.

Middleton also mentioned the prime location of the campus, with the waterfront being particularly appealing during the hot summer months.

“Mostly it’s about the classroom experience,” Middleton said. “Our classes tend to be small; we have good faculty here.”