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When teaching summer courses you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of the compressed time frame for teaching and learning. In “Best practices: teaching in summer session,” Kops suggests a number of items to take into account. These include:

  • Restructuring the course to enhance focus on key student outcomes.
  • Reconfiguring assignments to break them into smaller parts when possible and timing delivery so that longer assignments occur when there are longer gaps until the next class session.
  • Maintaining high standards and expectations.
  • Planning time for breaks during longer class sessions.
  • Capitalizing on the greater continuity of class meetings and smaller class sizes that are often characteristics of summer courses.
  • Avoiding teaching a course for the first time in a compressed  format.

As you prepare to teach the summer course keep an open mind and try to set aside expectations about organization of instruction that are based on your experience teaching in a full semester. For more details on best practices and background information on teaching in a time-compressed format please see the articles listed below. Kaneb Center staff would also be happy to consult with you as you prepare and teach your summer course.


Kops, B. (2009) Best Practices: Teaching in Summer Session. Summer Academe, Vol. 6, 2009.

Lee, Virginia S. (2006). A Rose by Any Other Name? Learning in Intensive Course Formats. National Teaching and Learning Forum, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2006.

Martin, H., Bartzen Culver, K. (2007). Concentrate, Intensify, or Shorten?: Short Intensive Courses in Summer Sessions. Continuing Higher Education Review. Vol. 71, Fall 2007.

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