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June 23, 2003

Summer Session offering more special-interest courses

By Louise Donahue

Things may be quieting down on the rest of the campus, but Summer Session planners have gone into overdrive, preparing for another record enrollment.

Science communication student Lucy Reading created the illustration on the cover of the Summer Session catalog, which was designed by Amy Sibiga, senior graphic designer in the UCSC Graphic Services Department.

Season of change: Campuses throughout the UC system experiment with distance education in summer. MORE

An estimated 3,500 students are expected for Summer Session, about 15 percent more than last year, said Pat Vani, Summer Session director.

That increase in students adds up to a wider array of courses. "We're offering more courses, so there are more choices," Vani said.

Among those courses are three new short courses focusing on special areas of interest.

The shortest of the short courses is British Literature 130G, an intensive week focusing on author Charles Dickens. Students will spend a week of 12-hour days participating in the annual Dickens Project, July 27-August 1 and may receive five units of credit.

A three-week workshop on algorithmic computer music is led by David Cope, a composer and UCSC professor of music. Participants will take classes on the basic techniques of algorithmic composition and analysis. The three-week program begins June 23.

Number, Area, Space, Time, and Motion, also known as Math 108, delves into the history of numbers and other concepts. Taught by Professor Anthony Tromba and running from July 14 to 31, the course is designed for teachers and prospective teachers.

"We can do a few things out of the norm in the summer," said Vani. "The faculty is getting more interested in trying something different, especially specialty courses, over the summer."

Last year, an online course, Computer Science 185: Technical Writing for Computer Engineers, was introduced. The course's success (see earlier Currents story) led to a doubling of enrollment this year, and there is now a waiting list for the class. Students in the course must appear in class just twice--at the beginning and the end of the course. "The rest is done online," Vani said. "It enables them to be anywhere in the world, really."

That flexibility has special appeal during the summer, when students are trying to fit classes around jobs and other commitments. "There are a limited number of classes that would work that way," Vani said, adding that she'd be happy to offer more.

While some students are taking a class online, many more are taking advantage of registration online. Students may register online at the Summer Session web site with a credit card.

Online registration began at midnight on March 10, "and the first registration came through at 12:03," Vani said. "It's been very popular and convenient. This works with their schedules better and cuts back on paperwork for us," she said.


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