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RRR week begins on campus

By Andrea Hicklin

The campus’s Reading, Review, and Recitation (RRR) week begins today (Monday, Dec. 6). Scheduled between the formal end of class instruction and the start of final exams, it gives students free time prepare for exams, to work on final papers and projects, and to participate in optional review sessions and meetings with instructors.

RRR week was first introduced in the fall of 2009 as a replacement to traditional school “dead days.” The change was recommended by the campus’s Joint Task Force on Exams after consulting with several Academic Senate committees and many student groups.

On the previous academic calendar, the 15th week of instruction was considered the time between the end of classes and the beginning of finals. Traditionally, instructors were urged to not introduce any new material during this week. RRR week is intended to formalize this recommendation and to provide students with additional time to study, actively consult with instructors and professors, and attend review sessions. RRR days are counted as days of instruction, even though formal classes do not meet during this period.

“RRR week is a flexible time that enables faculty and students to synthesize 14 weeks of rigorous material in a manner that enables long-term retention,” said Kristie Boering, chair of the Committee on Courses of Instruction and a key faculty leader behind the institution of RRR. “Providing time for students to study, think deeply about subjects and consult with instructors is highly valuable and a large part in the motivation for the change.”

During RRR week, a variety of activities are encouraged, including review sessions, study group meetings, and in some situations, oral presentations and poster sessions. Activities may include both face-to-face and electronic modes of contact and communication.

Chemistry professor John Arnold said he plans to use his time during RRR week differently this semester. He will be holding 15-minute office “hours” with groups of one or two students to allow for questions and review.

Arnold said typical office hour meetings attract 20 to 50 students. The time during RRR allows him to create smaller time slots for more individual attention. “I don’t know where I would have found the time without RRR,” he said.

Other professors and lecturers use the week as a time for students to deliver presentations. Sara Russell, a first year lecturer in the Italian Studies department, is having her students present their research projects during RRR.

“I think with the short 14-week semester, it is almost essential for me as an instructor of a writing-intensive course to schedule student presentations during RRR week, so as not to cut a week of instruction time from the course schedule,” Russell said.

Third year biology major Jessica Tran says that without a full-week of RRR, she doesn’t know how she would prioritize her study time and be able to attend necessary review sessions. “It helps relieve some of my stress,” she said while studying at the Student Learning Center.

Under academic policy, professors and instructors are not permitted to assign papers or projects in lieu of a written final exam during RRR week. Instructors are encouraged to give students the full benefit of the RRR week for consultation with their instructors and revision.

RRR week continues through Friday, Dec. 10. More information and FAQs about RRR week can be found online.