By Lisa Heller
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Spanish 101, 102, 201, 202 and 206 students will now report to their classrooms four days per week instead of going to their lab once per week.
The Department of Spanish and Portuguese decided last Friday to change the structure of the Spanish lab, eliminating scheduled lab exercises in an effort to alleviate the long wait students have experienced in the past.
About 2,600 students use the Spanish lab Ÿ 400 more than last year. Students were required to complete assigned lab exercises on a weekly basis, as well as take tests and exams, creating long waits.
"I waited six and a half hours on Sunday, and decided at 8:45 (p.m.) that there was not enough time to do the lab," said Jillian Dreyer, medical technician freshman.
David Sergeant, director of the language lab, said, "It was not as bad as it seemed. Students were writing their names down three or four times, so it seemed like there were more people in line."
The new system still will allow students to practice with lab exercises, but lab assignments are no longer required. Tests and exams will still be conducted in the lab, Sargeant said. Testing will be given priority, but students who wish to practice in the lab will no longer have to wait, he said.
Instead, students must sign up for a time slot in which they will complete required tests and exams. This slot will include the date and time of each test for the rest of the semester.
Paul Firbas, Spanish 102 instructor, said he believes the new system is an improvement.
"There is no waiting," he said. "Students know exactly what day, time and computer they're assigned to. It is a very civilized line, and that's it."
Shea Hennessy, English senior, disagrees. "I took Spanish last year, and there was never a line at all. Maybe you had to wait 20-30 minutes the day the lab was due, but nothing as bad as this year. I think they should do away with the lab altogether and do everything in class. For the problem, this is the best they can do, but it's still a hassle."
In the past, students were allowed to take as much time as they needed to do tests and exams. With the new system, students must complete the tests in 1 1/2 hours, and the final exam in two hours.
Students who miss their assigned time have the opportunity to make it up later in the week. During examination weeks, half of the seats in the lab will be blocked off for rescheduled or makeup tests. If a student misses that testing time, the instructor decides whether to let another makeup be rescheduled, Sergeant said.
The fourth day of class allows instructors time to give students extra help.
"In my opinion, it's fair," said Keldon Donaldson, Spanish 101 teaching assistant. "There is so much to cover, it'll be easier to keep up-to-date. Now we also don't have to grade lab work. It makes our jobs as teachers easier."
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