Classes across campus, distance and time affect students

Junette Reyes/Staff Writer

With the many options FIU offers, the most difficult issue a student could come across might be deciding what class to take. The severed connection between Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus makes this decision even more difficult when the course offerings might not always be as equal from campus to campus.

What separates the two campuses further, besides their obvious distance, are the different colleges and schools established at each one. This could explain why department courses are not always equally available at each campus.

BBC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, for example, only offered nine courses at MMC this Spring semester with only one section each, the rest simply accessible at BBC as well as online.

This is personally troublesome for me because as a staff writer at The Beacon, I have an interest in journalism but find it extremely inconvenient that most of the classes are at BBC.

The availability of an online portion of some classes can be quite helpful sometimes but they are more costly, given that they have an additional Distance Learning fee of as much as $174 for 3-5 credits.

The Golden Panther Express Shuttle can also be somewhat helpful for people, such as myself, who do not have the means of commuting between campuses. Still, establishing a schedule at MMC is difficult enough as it is sometimes given to how quickly classes fill up, so it isn’t always easy creating a schedule between the two.

This problem is not limited to SJMC or BBC alone.

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, for example, only offered seven courses at MMC this Spring semester, again with only one section each while the rest were offered either at BBC or online.

Hospitality and Tourism student Melissa Del Toro has to travel four separate days to BBC and said the time spent to travel and the expense of transportation is something she doesn’t even want to think about.

“It’s really hard sometimes. We have to pay for the bus $2.50 each way! [For me] that’s $20 every week,” said Del Toro. “I don’t even want to think about how many weeks there are in a semester. Imagine how much I spend on gas for those emergency days that I miss the bus.”

From the MMC side of things, a class search of the Department of History showed that only two courses were offered this Spring semester at BBC, one of which was an Independent Study course.

A class search of the Humanities Department produced a similar outcome with only three courses having been offered at BBC, one of which was also an Independent Study course.

A class search of the Department of Philosophy showed that only two courses in the 2000 level were offered this Spring semester at BBC.

On one extreme, a class search seemingly showed that the Department of Criminal Justice did not even offer any classes at BBC this semester.

Fortunately, departments such as the Department of Psychology and the Department of English made up for such issues with a class search showing that they offered eighteen and twenty-five courses at BBC respectively, all of which were a combination of upper and lower division courses.

The lack of classes from departments at either campus can be an issue for some, especially when taking the shuttle to attend the other campus or taking classes online is not an option.

One solution to this can simply be to make the classes available to students by scheduling enough sections at each campus. Another solution, as was done with some Hospitality courses this semester, is to simulcast classes from one campus to the other via video-conference with the presence of teaching assistants.

Whatever the solution may be, there certainly needs to be one so that students can pursue the education they desire.

“It’s hard, but [our hospitality and tourism school] is such a great program with such wonderful instructors that it’s worth the ride,” said Del Toro. “If only there was a way to have them at south campus, my world would be perfect.”