New York City, NY — by Naisha Roy
This story was originally published on New York University’s Washington Square News.
There’s only one thing worse than sitting in a murky auditorium, listening to a professor lecture for 75 minutes: sitting there for double that time. That’s what I had to do last semester in my first-year seminar, which met once a week for an excruciatingly long, two-and-a-half-hour period. I felt myself zoning out near the halfway mark during every week’s class, no matter how hard I tried to concentrate. Classes longer than the default 75-minute block fail to retain students’ attention, and NYU should avoid them at all costs — if not eliminate them entirely.
Courses at NYU must meet for a minimum of 750 minutes per credit, meaning that a four-credit course requires a total of 3,000 minutes of instructional time — equivalent to 50 hours over a semester. Most classes adhere to the 75-minute time block we know and love, meeting two to three times a week. Others, however, meet for nearly three hours in a single session once a week. These long class periods are detrimental to students’ retention of the material and are, frankly, boring.
Most research suggests that breaking up a lecture with a hands-on, interactive activity every 15 minutes is ideal. This is doable during a 75-minute period, in which one or two volunteer-based activities — whether they entail the professor posing a question to the class or allowing two minutes for students to discuss a quote with their neighbors — are enough to give students a break from all the information they are absorbing. However, there’s only so much professors can do during a three-hour-long class.
Read the rest of the story at Washington Square News.