It comes as news to no one that 8am classes are too early for some students.
A recent study published in Frontiers of Neuroscience, and reported at NPR finds that “the ideal start time would be more like 10 or 11am.” Most traditional-aged college students just aren't wired to be awake and productive at 8am.
Over the last sixteen years, I have taught an 8am class probably about 2/3rds of the semesters.
I like 8am classes. When I taught at Clemson I had a 45 minute commute and four sections crammed into a TTH schedule. Starting at 8am meant I could avoid traffic and finish up the day at a reasonable hour.
I don’t mind getting up early and going to bed before 10pm. I’m basically worthless in terms of higher order thought after 6pm. My natural rhythms sync with 8am classes.
This is not true for many students. I became well-familiar with the research when a team of students in an 8am technical writing class tackled class scheduling for their group project. The genesis of their interest was their loathing of their 8am technical writing class, a section they felt they’d been conscripted into because of curricular requirements combined with a shortage of
sections. For several, the choice was either take it at 8am or don’tgraduate.