My Spanish, organic chemistry and biology classes meet a couple times a week for approximately three hours, and I receive three credits for each. So I figure that the amount of credits I receive equals the time spent in class. So why is it that I spend three hours per week in my biology and chemistry lab classes, yet only receive one credit?
I could rationalize allocating credits if I didn’t have a lot of work for labs, but my lab classes actually require more time than most of my regular three-credit classes. For both biology and organic lab I have a quiz every class, a pre-lab write up, and a lab report due every time we meet. Writing the lab reports and preparing for class takes at least an extra three to four hours as well.
In contrast, my Spanish 211 class, which I receive three credits for, required an hour of homework this week. I have a quiz at the end of the week, which will cover material from class. My quizzes in organic lab ask my knowledge of information not yet discussed in class, but instead about information that will be used later that day in lab. I usually understand how to answer the questions after I conduct the lab, but not before beginning it. Thus, studying for lab quizzes entails more time because the knowledge is being learned for the first time.
I propose that administrators increase the amount of credits received for lab classes. Students will experience greater satisfaction for the time they put into class, and also feel their time is worthwhile. Not only does an increase in credit allotment make logical sense when looking at the hours spent in lab per week, but I feel that the increase would also cause a change in student morale.
Karyn Meshbane is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.