Friday, October 28, 2011

Gerry in Georgia Sends In Some Flava: "I'm Asleep by 9 Every Night. But if Midnight Students are 'Awake, Alive, and Vibrant,' Then Sign Me Up!"

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY

It's midnight. Do you know where your students are?

Well, they're in class.

A handful of colleges across the USA are offering "midnight classes" that cater to the schedules of students with children, inflexible jobs or just a yen to stay up all night. On overburdened campuses, the late-late classes have the chance to use space that's booked during conventional hours.

"They would rather do anything than turn students away," says Norma Kent of the American Association of Community Colleges. "If you've got faculty that's willing to teach at an unconventional hour, then it's a solution for a lot of things."

The idea took shape in 2009 at an overcrowded Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, where an instructor volunteered to teach a class at midnight, just about the only time when classrooms weren't in use. The college's facilities, built to accommodate 2,500 students, struggle to make room for 13,000 enrollees.
"We found out there are many more folks than we'd imagined in the Boston area who are working third shifts," Bunker Hill President Mary Fifield says. "It's a population that we didn't know existed."
The school this year offers five midnight courses.

Goodie calls her Intro to Psychology class "Insomniac Institute." It meets weekly this semester from 12:01 a.m. to 2:55 a.m. She says two kinds of students take the class: those, like her, who are up late anyway and those who mistakenly thought they were signing up for a noon class.

A self-described insomniac, Goodie says she keeps the class active and engaging, telling jokes and getting students on their feet for presentations. By 2:30 a.m. most weeks, she says, "everyone is pretty miserable." But for most of the class period, it's exciting. "They're awake and they're alive," she says, "and they're very vibrant."


  1. Maybe it works for post-midnight classes, because I taught briefly some 10-midnight classes, and everyone, especially me, sleep-walked through a semester of Keats and Wordsworth.

  2. Maybe it was the Keats and Wordsworth?



  3. I can't see myself signing up. The students here would sleep then noon, go to work, have a few drinks with their friends THEN go to class. No thanks.

  4. I think either College Misery or RYS covered the witching hour classes going on at certain community colleges some time ago. Nobody liked them then either.

  5. My college would offer midnight classes, classes in a tree house, classes underwater, if they could get 22 bodies in a room and an adjunct at $2k a semester.

    I'd think if we worked those hours the college could cut loose the security folks, let us carry flashlights between class and check for open doors.

    Savings! Units! SUCCESS. The assessment goons would eat it up.

  6. I can't say that I would sign up. Seems a little unsafe to me. The minute word go out about midnight classes every thug in town would be hiding in the bushes when class got out to get his hands on a shiny new iPhone or two.

  7. This gimmick will work for, oh, two semesters tops. It's just a matter of time before some snowflake snivels that this was required. Now you know why I don't ever do anything past 10 p.m., even though my field is astronomy.

  8. Cal, you and I have the same bedtime. Just don't tell Mrs. Cal or Mr. Darla!

    But srsly, midnight classes? That would work here, I know, where students like their FIRST class of the day to start after 2 on the afternoon.

  9. If I was in class at midnight on Monday, it would seriously interfere with my Sunday 10PM "Oh shit, it's midterm week and I pissed away the whole weekend and forgot to write a fucking midterm" realization scrambles.


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