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J-Term Courses Help Fill Special Niche for UW Students

January 28, 2016

While most University of Wyoming students were enjoying the winter break with traditional holiday events, participating in outdoor activities or generally relaxing, nearly 500 UW students continued their studies in some unique classes.

Beginning Dec. 19, students participated in J-Term courses that continue through the end of January. Many of the students in these types of classes are student-athletes and international students who remain in the country during the winter break.

Also participating are junior- and senior-level students who are “looking to find opportunities to 'sneak' in a few additional credits in anticipation of meeting their graduation requirements,” says Miguel Rosales, project coordinator in the office of Summer Session and Winter Courses in the UW Outreach School.

“J-Term -- which basically stands for January Term -- are classes previously called winter break courses, but have been rebranded as J-Term to indicate when the bulk of the coursework will run,” Rosales says. “Rather than create a fourth academic term, in addition to the fall, spring and summer, these are spring semester courses that finish in January.”

J-Term class offerings include online, hybrid (online and face-to-face), face-to-face, Wyoming field-based and international travel courses. With the shift in the academic calendar that began last year, the Outreach School found an opportunity to use the time in January to enhance course offerings and look into face-to-face offerings on a small scale, along with hybrid offerings.

“Previously, we only facilitated online course offerings and Wyoming/international travel course offerings,” Rosales says. “A big part of the push for the pilot that began in 2008 was to serve the groups that were identified as good candidates for taking J-Term courses.”

Nearly 20 courses are offered through the program, with such titles as “Introduction to African American and Latino/a Studies”; “Public Speaking”; “Modes of Understanding: Mass Media & Collective Consciousness”; “Modes of Understanding: American Film and the Social Construct of Race”; “Musical Theatre Voice Lesson”; and “Mode of Understanding: The Art & Culture of Hip Hop.”

Some of the international courses are offered in Costa Rica, Chile, West Africa and Cambodia, while three are offered in Jackson Hole.

The UW Outreach School’s pilot program began in 2008-09 with a single international travel course. In 2009, the first online course was offered, and the program has grown since. In 2012-13, a total of 101 students were enrolled in J-Term coursework, and the number increased to 177 and 266 enrollments the following two years.

For more information about J-Term courses and other UW Outreach School programs, contact Rosales at (307) 766-6559 or, or visit the website at

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