Photo by Anna Meassick | The university has been advertising for J-term with emails and signs throughout campus.

Registration for winter break courses for students at the University of Rhode Island is now available on the E-campus website, including new online courses added this year, most of which can be registered for on Nov. 19.

The January term program, allows students to take an additional class between their fall and spring semester. There are over 60 courses available both on campus and online. The entire registration and billing process takes place on E-campus the same way it does for regular semester courses.

In terms of cost, an email sent to students back on Oct. 29 claims that tuition is lower than a regular semester. It specifically states, “Winter J-term tuition rates are significantly discounted from fall and spring rates to make January enrollment as affordable as possible for students.”
The rate per credit is $278 for in-state students, $417 for regional students and $461 for out-of-state students.

The new list of 10 online courses includes some of the following: AST 118: Introductory Astronomy, The Solar System; AVS 101: Introduction to Animal Science and CSC 101: Computing Concepts. The course descriptions for each one can be found on the University’s website.

Assistant Director of Summer Sessions and Winter J-term, John Olerio, has overseen the program since it began six years ago and is excited to watch it grow now that online classes are becoming available. “Our faculty has been working super hard on this,” he said. “I’m confident that students will be blown away.”

He said that offering online classes allows the program to reach a wider audience due to it being much more convenient for out-of-state students who live hundreds or thousands of miles away.

“For those students to be able to take courses without having to fly back and forth over the holidays is an exciting opportunity,” Olerio said.

Olerio also made it clear that the J-term program could benefit almost any student, that it just depends on their situation. “We try to make the J-term program work for everybody,” he said. “We always try to answer: Have we covered all of the reasons a student would want to take a J-term course?”

Olerio said that there are three basic aspects the department tries to cover when structuring the J-term program. The first is that if a student is falling behind on credits to graduate, there are plenty of general education courses available in the J-term program. According to Olerio, three grand challenge courses, which students need to take one of to graduate, have been added to the program this year. They include BIO 181G: The Information Age: From Politics to Medicine; LIB 350G: Current Issues of the Information Age and ISE/SUS 261G: Waste Not, Want Not: Sustainable Lean Production.

The second reason is if a student finds themselves with nothing better to do, there are classes that can teach students some extremely specific skills. In turn, this can help students think more about their specific career path.
The third reason is while one day of learning during the J-term can equal one week for a regular semester, taking one class during that time instead of multiple means there are still plenty of opportunities for students to truly immerse themselves in what they are learning. Olerio cited SOC 477: Field Experience in Sociology: Juvenile Justice Immersion and TMD classes as example, claiming students travel outside the classroom to learn more. “It’s field trip stuff,” he said.

The only specific major that Olerio recommended for considering J-term was business, since taking a masters in business administration course during this time can be very beneficial. He also claims business is a very popular major at URI.
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“Fall and spring classes fill up quickly,” he said. Therefore, taking a business class that was already full in a regular semester could perhaps be a fourth reason a student should consider J-term. On a similar note, according to Olerio, the course BUS 345 “Business in Society,” a business major lecture class, is by far the most popular returning J-term course.

Olerio wants students to know that they have nothing to lose by checking out some of these courses. According to a survey sent out by his department, 94 percent of the 300 respondents agreed they would describe their experience with the J-term program as “favorable.” “That’s as cool as it gets,” Olerio said.