Nov 052003
 
Authors: Erin Frustaci

Class length can become an important factor for students when

selecting classes.

“Attention spans for people certainly vary. Some people can sit

for a long period of time and function fine and others can have

trouble sitting for 15 minutes,” said Charles Davidshofer, director

of the University Counseling Center.

Davidshofer said many factors come into play when looking at

attention spans in class. Adequate sleep, good posture and getting

something to eat and drink can help students stay tuned in for a

long period of time.

Most classes at CSU are 50 minutes long on Monday, Wednesday and

Friday and an hour and 15 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday.

For Connie Kercher, a sophomore speech communications major,

Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes are the way to go.

“We are college students and we have pretty short attention

spans, so shorter classes keep us interested,” Kercher said.

Sophomore Lyndsey Struthers agreed that an hour and 15 minutes

can be a little long. Struthers said that when classes are longer

than 50 minutes, one can look around the classroom and see people

staring off and not paying attention.

“It is a waste of the students’ time as well as the

professors’,” Struthers said.

Professor Robert Lawrence in the political science department

said most Americans are wired for 50 minutes. Because of this,

during his hour and 15 minute classes he stops halfway through and

has his students stand up, turn around and take a deep breath. This

gives students a short break so they can refocus.

Some students prefer to have longer class periods. This is the

case for Michael Silvestrini, a junior majoring in international

studies, who would rather have classes on Tuesday and Thursday.

“It depends on the professor. Some professors can hold my

attention and others are unprepared for the entire duration.”

Silvestrini said. “Large lectures are tougher to sustain the hour

and 15 minutes compared to labs or smaller classes that have more

interaction in them.”

Mike Naifeh said he prefers Tuesday and Thursday classes because

although they are a little long, they are not too long so that they

drag. Naifeh is also taking a philosophy class that is held on

Tuesday nights for three hours.

“It’s nice only having that class once a week, but it has to be

a class you are interested in,” said Naifeh, a freshman open option

major.

Benjamin Clegg, an assistant professor from the psychology

department, agreed that attention spans are different for all

people. One way to consider the issue is through comparison to

other activities.

“How long is “too long” to play a computer game? When is a movie

“too long”? If something engages your attention in an immersive

fashion then you will continue to do it for an extended period of

time. The problem is that most classes are not like that,” Clegg

said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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