Think, Know, Prove: Registration Changes

Think, Know, Prove is a regular Saturday feature, where a topic with both mystery and importance is posted for community discussion. The title is a shortened version of the Investigative Mantra: What do we think, what do we know, what can we prove? and everything from wild speculation to resource referencing fact is welcome here.

Better? Worse? The same? I’d say better. Far from great, but definitely better.

What do you think? What do you know? What can you prove?

6 thoughts on “Think, Know, Prove: Registration Changes

  1. I’d say a move in the right direction. I really like the fact that our website provided timely information and that the Mr. Brown and company held tight to the registration hours. A couple of times I left the college after 4pm and it was gratifying to not see the mad rush of (procrastinating) students coming in to register. I believe we are sending a message to students: register early.
    There are still some issues with PeopleSoft and prerequisites, but I believe Don and company will address these problems if we, the faculty, voice our concerns.
    Overall, three out of five stars. Five stars is ‘as close to perfect as we can get to serving the needs of the students’ and we certainly are not there yet. Four stars if we could eliminate the long financial aid wait times (per student comments). Thus, the three stars. (Beats the two stars we were earning during previous semesters before making these changes.)
    I’m looking forward to Spring registration if we continue to review and revise registration.
    I’d like to see the results of the Registration Survey when they become available.

  2. I’d give it four stars, at least in comparison to previous semesters. I was happy with how things went. I was there today, two days prior to class, and there were still a lot of last-minute students who had specific needs that couldn’t be met. It was progressively more frustrating, but that’s the nature of the beast.

    The biggest opportunity for improvement is to better utilize professors’ academic knowledge to help serve the students. I’m sure we do this when we can; if I need to know about a math class, I find a math professor. But there is no system in place to ensure that professors are distributed over time according to discipline, or that they are easy to find even when they’re there. (Not all professors know all the other professors.)

    The solutions may raise other problems too. If we required that there is always at least one math professor on hand, that means we’re putting more restrictions on when a professor can do their hours. 30 hours is already a lot, and many professors would object to being mandated when they do their hours.


    1. Give professors name tags that display their department and academic discipline

    2. Publish a schedule of when specific disciplines will be available, so a student who is interested in child development can schedule their attendance for when a child development professor is present.

    3. Put a big board up in 404 with a grid displaying all disciplines, and a marker indicating which disciplines are currently represented.

    Otherwise, it seems like we’re essentially wasting an easily accessible resource.

    • We had issues at our college, especially with the lights going out during registration (whose great idea was it to save energy by turning out lights and air conditioning during registration?) and PeopleSoft going down at least twice on Thursday. We also had prerequisite issues that I thought were going to be taken care of–at least, that was the promise from district representatives at the Faculty Development meeting we had about this issue at Malcolm X.

      Of course, those aren’t problems with the process. As a department chair, I don’t regularly register students, although I did volunteer in a few hours and there were some changes (numbering like they do at the deli) that I think are excellent ideas.

      Kamran’s simple (and therefore, elegant) solutions seem like a fantastic idea! I’m going to suggest them at my school! Name tags with disciplines for professors not only help us find each other when needed during registration, it will help us to put faces to names during that week and may then foster connections throughout the year! It will also give students a chance to connect faces to names as they start to narrow down their own interests.

      Real advising often takes place within a discipline and so the idea of a published schedule for disciplines and an indicator of which disciplines are present makes perfect sense!

      • On the name tags, I vote for departmental color coding so the discipline can be ascertained from across the room (full disclosure: I think just about everything could be improved with color coding. Unless you’re color blind).

        Some other things that I would like to see changed in the registration process:
        1) logged students off way too frequently and quickly while they were trying to find and register for classes. Often, this meant that they needed to find the section of a course they’d already selected and added to their schedule but had not enrolled in. Sometimes it logged students off after mere minutes. Other times the system took longer to kick them off–that inconsistency was itself troubling, but the main problem was just the frustratingly quick rate at which it occurred.

        2) I know that most (or all) students should have had a checklist, but there were a few ambiguities on it. I think whoever puts it together needs to assemble it in consultation with someone who’s not already familiar with the ins and outs of registering as they do a practice run. Things that seem clear or self-explanatory to someone who has been registering students for years may be ambiguous or downright confusing to someone just starting the process. This is where new faculty or even a student volunteer would be a helpful resource. One point of confusion I noticed a couple students ask about had to do with signing up for new student orientation on the computer. The printed registration checklist told the students to register for “orientation,” but they did that by selecting from options on a drop down menu, and what they needed to register for was called “student orientation” (I think) on the menu, not just “orientation,” as the checklist stated. Even though that’s a small difference, it caused needless confusion when students got to the “O” section of the drop down menu and didn’t see what they were told to look for–commence panic. When students are new to the process, the details really do matter, and it is important to be as clear and detailed as possible.

        3) Again with the checklist, I don’t think it’s always clear to the student where they are on the checklist. I know it can be exhausting for the staff and faculty working at the various stations during registration to determine what students have already done and where they need to go, and my proposal would perhaps take a little extra energy, but I don’t think it’d be too tough: I found it helpful to write down the student’s next destination for them, or to at least point the step out to them/circle it on the checklist…hearing it did not seem to be enough to make it stick, and I imagine that such ineffective exchanges of information may contribute to dissatisfaction among students reviewing the registration process. They may have been told something but not really heard/retained it. If it’s written down, they don’t get up to the next floor and then wonder, “was it 202 or 207,” or “404 or 402?”
        I know I had other ideas emerge as problems came up during registration, but those are the ones that come to mind now.

        • Spectacular suggestions flying out of the HW Humanities department, left and right! Love it!

      • “whose great idea was it to save energy by turning out lights and air conditioning during registration?”

        Seriously…that was spectacularly bad scheduling. It goes in the Pantheon of Ridiculous Planning, along with scheduling the roll over of the email system right around the drop date (November 2010) and the original Reinvention plan that would have required faculty to leave their classes mid-term to join the team.

        Stoopid and dumm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s