Rise and shine, sleepyhead: Early morning classes make for tired students

Junior Tim Glenn starts every morning with a cup of coffee because it’s the only way he can stay awake through his 7:30 a.m. Native American Civilizations class.

“It’s out of necessity-it wasn’t a choice,” said Glenn, who took the class because that was the only time it was offered.

Instructors say that many U students take early morning classes to accommodate their work schedules or because the class is only taught once.

In his six years of teaching, Phillip Hutchison, associate instructor in the communication department, has noticed that his 7:30 a.m. classes “tend to be less awake, less motivated and less talkative” than classes taught later in the day.

“As a rule, (students) don’t talk as much-they’re just not as engaged in the material,” Hutchison said.

And they tend to get lower grades. After comparing six years worth of classes, Hutchison has noticed that on average his 11:30 a.m. classes get higher grades then his 7:30 a.m. classes.

But Hutchison is not sure if this is solely the result of the class time. Many students in his 7:30 a.m. classes have jobs, and he wonders if there could be a relationship between the number of hours students work and their grades.

History professor Janet Ellingson said that the 7:30 a.m. class she taught this semester went well.

“They were mostly history students- they were motivated,” Ellingson said.

But she said she had a hard time getting enthusiastic about her subject that early in the morning.

The geography department chooses not to offer 7:30 a.m. classes.

Lisa Clayton, administrative assistant for the department, is in charge of asking the professors at what time they would like to offer their classes.

Many of them won’t teach 7:30 a.m. classes because the students come late and don’t pay attention, Clayton said.

Some U students, such as Paige Vivian, a senior in exercise and sports science, try to avoid taking 7:30 a.m. classes.

But this semester, Vivian was forced into it-because 7:30 a.m. was the only time her Honors Exercise Physiology class was taught.

“It’s awful-it’s hard to get up early enough, and (it’s) hard to be there on time,” Vivian said.

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