The period of time we spend at College represents a crucial period in our lives. The four years that students spend at Baruch will represent a time where they will make life changing decisions about their futures, learn more about themselves and their personal strengths and weaknesses and experience freedom and independence for the first time. Initially the freshman may experience some level of disappointment. The cause of this disappointment may be due to the “Blog System”. The Blog system necessitates a number of compulsory classes and attendance at pre-determined times.
Many students may not like this system as it prevents them from a degree of freedom when choosing their schedule. Given the fact that there are currently no plans to change the system, the students will simply have to accept the arrangement and accommodate the schedule into their plans. After the first semester is over the students will have an opportunity to select their own classes and can therefore, after this point, choose a schedule that is appealing and convenient for them. After the first semester, the choices given to the students in the second semester may present additional problems.
Whilst in theory they are now able to select the classes that interest them the most, in practice this may be slightly more complicated. One of the biggest problems students will face at this juncture is the availability of seats within the classes. Not all students can attend a class and therefore places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Students may therefore find that a class they wish to attend is full and they may therefore be forced to select an alternative seminar.
A further problem may be related to the timing of the classes. Students may find that a class they wish to attend is actually taking place at a time that they are unable to attend and thus they may, again, be forced to opt for an substitute. The two scenarios described above can pose a problem. In both the case of pre-requisite classes and the case of classes that are selected as second best options, the students may not be interested in the subject matter of the course; they are enrolled in these classes because they had no other choice.
Such students may have a detrimental effect on the classes themselves. Because they are not interested they may fail to attend class or they may have a negative attitude that impacts the learning experience for other students. In addition to this, if there is any group work allocated during the course, they may fail to participate in a fair manner and thus unfairly increase the workload for the other students. We therefore must question why almost every student in our College has to face this unfair process of registration?
Why do some students have the privilege to choose a schedule that suites their needs and thus choose a class that they like and need at a time that is convenient for them whilst others are forced to make do with the rest? Also, as a student, what action can we take to successfully influence the College policy in a way that benefits more students? In order to answer these questions and to search for further help and advice, I went to the registrar office to discuss matters further. I was introduced to a person named; Omar Otah who himself was a graduate from Baruch College and who is now employed by the college.
Omar Otah is one of the people who is involved in the decision making process regarding the registration policies and processes for students. Mr. Omar commented on some of the questions I raised and shared with my some interesting information. He described how the registration process for classes has always been far from simple. At first, Baruch students would registering with an advisor in person. Whilst this allowed every student to gain advice from a trained person it also had a number of downsides.
The requirement to attend a face to face meeting led to the formation of long lines for the registration process and subsequently led to students being late for class or even, in some cases, missing it completely, because of the time taken to complete registration. As a result of the problems they had experienced with the manual registration process the registration office decided to take advantage of technological innovation and thus adapted a system whereby students could register by telephone. The upside of this was that students could register from anywhere.
However, this procedure was also flawed and led to a number of complaints. The process required students to manually key in SSN and class codes. If they failed to do this accurately and if just one number was incorrect then the student had to restart the process and reenter all numbers from the beginning. In addition to this, some students attempted to complete the registration process whilst driving cars and this caused some accidents. As a result of the issues with telephone registration Baruch then turned to online technology and introduced the E-Sims system.
This system was created by CUNY and accepted by Baruch. On learning about the E-Sims system, I questioned Omar on it and asked about the fact that, because the system was owned and created by CUNY it was they who designed and implemented the policies impacting course registration. Omar told me that the only way in which students could impact decisions relating to the registration was by writing a formal letter that outlined their issues with the system and the changes they required.
If sufficient students were to do this then the CUNY would need to take their complaints into consideration when setting future policies. I can see the logic in this and agree that it may be a good way in which communication channels can be established between the registration office and the students themselves and thus can afford students an opportunity whereby they can try and influence the decisions that are made with regards to the registration process.
I also questioned Omar about the registration time afforded to each student. He told me that the order in which students are permitted to register is related to their year of study. Upper and Lower seniors have priority and are allowed to register first as this ensures that have completed all the classes they need in order to graduate. Even within these students a further priority is established according to student’s last name with the order of registration taking place alphabetically.
I personally disagree with this arrangement. Whilst I can understand why a registrar office may wants to give priority to a class on the basis of their graduation requirement and how many credits they have, I certainly cannot see the logic in permitting students to register on the basis of the order in which their name appears in the alphabet! That to me, sounds a little bit absurd.