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    Colleges start offering 'midnight classes' for offbeat needs

    Ohanian Comment: I'm posting this for one line in the story: [T]two kinds of students take the class: those. . . who are up late anyway and those who mistakenly thought they were signing up for a noon class. They couldn't transfer out.

    Couldn't transfer out??

    Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with such practices among consentigt adults. Just don't let the hedge funders move this to K-12.

    by Greg Toppo

    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.

    Midnight classes are still a relative rarity but are growing in popularity among community colleges, which are geared toward working students. Many of those colleges have ballooning enrollments and overbooked traditional night and weekend classes.

    "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."

    About two-thirds of community college students work full or part time, and colleges are finding that many of their students work late. Others simply do their best work at night, says Community College of Baltimore County (Md.) psychology instructor Joy Goodie.

    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. They couldn't transfer out.

    Early on this semester, Goodie's nine students agreed to fortify each class with a potluck dinner. They invite the night janitorial staff and security guards for a bite. Goodie likes the mix, saying it gives students at the Catonsville, Md., campus an appreciation of the otherwise invisible workers who keep the college running.

    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."

    — Greg Toppo
    USA Today


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