Yale College will launch a new era in course registration this January, using an online system to eliminate much of the paperwork and confusion traditionally associated with the end of shopping period.
Barry S. Kane, registrar of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, said the pilot online registration program initiated this semester in Branford and Timothy Dwight colleges went so smoothly that the program will expand to all of Yale College for the spring semester.
To register, students login to the classes Web site, search for the courses they want, and complete a preliminary schedule. To diminish human error, students click on classes instead of typing them in, and the program notifies the user of any mistakes. For instance, if a student selects the Credit/D/Fail option for a class that does not offer it, the program displays an error message.
Jill Carlton, head of the University Identification Center, said online course registration will make the process easier for students because the program will automatically update students on their progress toward meeting distribution requirements.
The system will not be entirely self-contained, Kane said. After finishing preliminary course schedules, students will have to print them out and meet with their faculty advisors for approval before submitting their schedules to their residential college dean’s office.
“This is not a paperless process,” Kane said. “Yale College was firm about the fact that students have a one-on-one meeting with their faculty advisors.”
Residential college deans will only send schedules containing changes made by an advisor to the Registrar’s Office for corrections; all others will be processed through the system. As a result, the Registrar’s Office will receive far fewer forms and the registration process will be accelerated, Kane said.
Reuben Grinberg ’05 said the new system will make registration “much less of a headache,” but Jon Berkon ’03 was less enthusiastic.
“I honestly don’t think it makes much of a difference,” Berkon said. “I guess it would make things marginally easier, but the inconvenience before wasn’t too great.”
Several assistance measures have been made available in case of problems, Kane said. Online help technicians and a dedicated phone-line staff will be available to answer questions about the service.
Kane said the efficiency of online course registration will also benefit the faculty, explaining that he will now be able to generate preliminary class lists one or two days after the close of shopping period. Under the current system, professors receive the lists six to seven weeks into the semester.
One Timothy Dwight student agreed that the online course registration process was very efficient in the fall.
“The search engine was pretty cool,” Hanna Chung ’05 said. “It took about five minutes [to register].”