In August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and brought more than 40 inches of rain and caused catastrophic flooding throughout the region. The resulting floods inundated thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people and prompted more than 17,000 rescues. Many Sam Houston State University faculty, staff and students felt the impact of the storm first-hand.
In response to the difficult conditions brought to the Houston-Huntsville area by Hurricane Harvey, SHSU readied more than 180 online sections of shortened-schedule, 7.5-week or “7B”, class sections in October 2017. The university’s intention in offering these additional sections, was to provide students who may have had to delay or drop classes due to the storm with a practical alternative that allowed them to stay on track with their education plans.
One of the many students who took advantage of 7B courses was Marcus Montaño, a senior Criminal Justice major and member of the Texas Army National Guard. The day before Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Montaño was called out by his National Guard unit to assist with search and rescue and community aid.
“This would have derailed my plans for the semester significantly since we didn’t know how long we were going to be out there. It wasn’t until a couple of days later, that I actually started receiving e-mails from my professors talking about 7B courses and how I was able to start the semester a little bit later on a condensed schedule,” Montaño said. “
This actually worked out really well for me because it gave me the opportunity to serve my community and continue my education after the fact.”
— Marcus Montaño
For students like Montaño, who are expected to respond to emergencies with speed, strength and efficiency, SHSU offers online courses that are as quick and versatile as the work they do.
“Structurally, 7B classes were the same as always, though in some cases, instructors did need to make some quick adjustments to course content just because of the shortened time frame,” Montaño said. “In terms of syllabuses, the courses were pretty identical, except for a much, much faster pace.
Montaño took a handful of criminal justice courses, Introduction to Technical Writing, and a statistics course as part of the 7B class sections.
“Shortened 7B courses are a very convenient option for completing coursework quickly and having options is what’s best for students like me.”
Montaño plans to continue to serve and will pursue a career in federal law enforcement after graduation.