Seminar data may go online



Students may be able to better assess their chances of acceptance into seminar if additions to the online course selection system proposed by the Yale College Council are approved by the administration.

YCC Vice President Chance Carlisle ’05 met with Director of Student Information Technology Services Jill Carlton late last week to discuss enhancing the online course selection system. If the YCC’s proposal is approved, the system will include more explicit selection criteria for seminars, including the number and class years of students who added a particular class to their tentative schedule worksheet, along with the number of students who have pre-registered for classes, Carlisle said.

The proposal is intended to facilitate shopping period for students, he said.

“We want to help sophomores and juniors maximize their shopping period opportunities,” Carlisle said. “It’s a way to provide more information to students.”

While the registrar’s office was receptive to the YCC’s proposal, Carlisle said the Yale College Dean’s Office must approve any modifications to the online course selection system. If the dean’s office decides to implement the proposal, updates to the online course selection site would not be available in the near future, because Student Financial and Administrative Services plans its projects “way in advance” and is already committed to projects for the coming year, Carlton wrote in an e-mail.

The YCC is also encouraging professors to include more detailed seminar selection criteria on syllabi, and to post syllabi on the course selection web site well in advance of shopping period, Carlisle said.

“Say a professor wants a diverse class,” Carlisle said. “Then you can understand where you stand.”

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, who said he has not been involved in discussions of the YCC’s proposal, said he thinks it “sounds like a good idea.”

“In general, the more information you can get online in advance of the semester the better,” Salovey said. “There really is no reason why professors can’t put information online.”

School of Management and political science professor Paul Bracken said he has used the present system “extensively” over the past few years, posting syllabi, homework, and readings. When he taught a seminar last year, he said he included selection criteria for the course.

“I find it to be very easy, and very helpful,” Bracken said. “I’ve always been an early adopter of IT. It’s a great way to communicate with students.”

Esther Young ’06, who is currently enrolled in a seminar, said she does not think shopping period would be much easier if she had access to more syllabi and selection criteria for seminars online.

“It would have been nice to know, but it wouldn’t have made a huge difference,” Young said. “I’d still want to sit in on classes. I like to see the professor’s style, the kinds of students who are interested in the class.”

Still, Young said she can see the benefits of the YCC’s proposal.

“More information can never hurt,” she said.

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