What’s the deal with 12-week semesters?

In semester 2 2018, units at UWA will be taught over 12 weeks instead of 13 for the first time. Here’s some background on this change and the Guild’s position on it.

What is changing?

From this semester onwards, UWA will reduce active teaching weeks from 13 to 12 each semester.

The number of tuition-free study weeks will be maintained, but exam study break and exams will be brought forward by a week.

The University said that this is required in order to accommodate the Winter and Summer teaching programs.

What does this mean for me?

This means that the total number of contact hours with your lecturers, tutors and labs will be reduced by the amount of contact hours you’d have in one week.

The University has assured us that the content of every unit will be modified to reflect this reduction in face-to-face teaching.

Why is this happening?

In 2016 the University gave the Guild and other student reps the choice between trimesters or summer school plus 12-week semesters.

Trimesters would have seen the holiday period slashed in half and the number of teaching weeks increased. You can read more about trimesters by heading here to see what Curtin University are up to. A larger selection of summer school units required a reduction in teaching weeks. To stop trimesters, the summer school option went ahead.

In 2017 when the proposal was put to Academic Board, the Guild fought against it, but were outnumbered and the proposal went ahead.

What is the Guild doing about it?

In 2017, the Guild representatives on Academic Board advocated for the delay in implementation from semester 1 2018 to semester 2 2018 and the active engagement with students in the design of units to ensure that content was reduced.

We secured the delay, but we’ve been disappointed that the Guild has not been engaged in the unit redesign process. We’ve also been left wondering how we’ve had such a successful summer school that was wedged right between two 13-week long semesters – so we’re fighting back again.

We’re launching a petition and a campaign, writing a data-informed rebuttal paper (with the help of our other student organisation friends from the ANU) and running an end of semester review survey to further cement our opposition to the changes.

What can I do?

You can sign our petition, share our campaign posts and tell your friends about it.

You can also email Megan Lee (president@guild.uwa.edu.au) and Conrad Hogg (ed@guild.uwa.edu.au) if you suspect a unit is trying to cram 13 weeks of content into 12 weeks so we can get onto fixing that for you.

Posted on July 27, 2018

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