Promoting Student Success with 3-week Intersession Courses

Concurrent Session 8

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Summer sessions continue to be instrumental for students to stay on pace for a timely graduation or to finish early. With intersession courses, students earn three credits in just three weeks! Get a head start on your semester or get back on track to graduate, intersession is a new tool for student success in an accelerated format.


Chad Garcia, an instructional design project manager for the University of South Florida, earned a master’s degree in education, secondary education, with a focus on instructional technology in 2013. He has been involved in secondary education since 2007. Chad was recognized as the Beginning Teacher of the Year for the state of Florida in 2009.

Extended Abstract


The intersession summer program is condensed to three-week section. As the content and requirements of the course mirror those of a full term, we must develop these courses for a fully online experience without sacrificing the quality, rigor, and academic standards that a student would experience in a 16-week section.

In this presentation we will explore the intense academic experience of a three-week course, from encouraging faculty buy-in, to a student’s learning experience. We take great efforts developing these courses with care to ensure that these fully accredited courses provide an enriching and fruitful experience for our students. 

Faculty Buy-in

All courses begin with our faculty. As our faculty are truly the lifeblood of the course, it is important to have an engaged and enthusiastic faculty member that is committed to building and delivering a quality learning experience. For our intersession program we look for faculty that are invested in student success, deliver high quality instruction, and demonstrate a deep passion for their students.


Today’s students are always looking for new and innovative ways to undertake the rigors and requirements of the modern university. As a university, it is our duty to provide solutions that will satisfy the pace and expectations of our students. We use a broad approach to market our program to students that need to work ahead, gain lost ground, earn extra credit, and/or those looking for a challenging experience. There are many reasons that a student might want to enroll in our program, and we attempt to reach them all.


Designing with the end in mind, our instructional designers work with faculty to create a high quality course that meets the expectations of the full term course. We employ the latest technologies and research to ensure that the course we develop meet the academic rigors and requirements of all of any courses in our catalog. There are many ways to adhere to these standards from leveraging the LMS tools, incorporating gamification, and structuring the course with a myriad of supporting features. Even though our students will only be working in the course for a short time, we want to make sure that they have the best experience possible when they enroll in these condensed courses.

Student Support

It’s essential that students not only hit the ground running when they begin a condensed course, but that they set a successful pace throughout the entirety of the course. We provide our students with opportunities to drop in early, recommendations, tips and tricks for getting started and succeeding, an open course structure with flexible module and dates to work ahead, as well as strict pacing to keep them on track during their three weeks in the course.

Student Success

As with any course, we are looking to not only engage students, but also give them everything they need to succeed in the course. Moreover, we want their success to inspire others to take on this challenging and innovative mode of learning. This is a great way for students to earn their credits for graduating in the precious time that they have with us at the university. It is our goal to help them achieve with the tools that we have. We have seen many students succeed in these courses and have received extremely encouraging feedback from our students, faculty, and administrators. It is our mission to provide as many learning experiences as we can throughout the university to help every student reach their goals.