In Terry Keller’s classroom at Lourdes University in Sylvania, students balked a bit when told to write down words to describe their parents.
“I can shred it for you, if you want,” Mr. Keller said, laughing with the rest of the students. “Is this scary to anybody?”
Students last week were learning about attachment and the relationship between parents and children.
In the open lecture, Mr. Keller told his students to write down five adjectives that described their mother, and as students laughed and hesitated, the assignment was expanded when their professor asked them to write down five adjectives that described their father.
About 25 students took part in the special lecture session offered by Lourdes. The university decided this year to offer what was billed as a J-term, a short three-credit January class squeezed between the fall and spring semesters which lasted just two weeks, from Jan. 2 to Saturday. It aimed to help students take required courses in a timely manner and graduate in four years.
During the class, while some students shared their lists of their parents’ traits, others listened intently, in large part because the two-week session condensed 10 to 11 weeks of material. Because subject matter is taught quickly, students worked to stay ahead of the reading and other class assignments.
Student Latoya Gibbs said the material was interesting, and she thought the key to being successful in such a short course had to do with being passionate about the subject matter.
“It has to be a topic you’re interested in,” she said. Classmate Katie Yoder agreed. Ms. Yoder took the class because she works as a caregiver for multiple children and the subject interested her.
“I paid more attention now,” she said of the shorter class sessions. “There’s many different types of attachment. It makes you understand their behaviors.”
The university offered eight undergraduate classes for the J-term in a variety of subjects such as social sciences, literature, religious studies, technology, global management, communication, and attachment parenting. In total, 140 students signed up; it was the first time Lourdes offered the special term.
There were a few challenges, however.
Student Jennifer Sherman said the reading was a challenge, but the class “was very organized,” and the professor helped keep them on task. All three women agreed Mr. Keller taught the course in an interesting yet informative way.
“He’s a good professor,” Ms. Yoder said.
Lourdes University students will begin their spring semester today.