|▲ A student registering for a class during the course registration period for the winter session of 2020|
Course registration at Chonnam National University (CNU) comes with problems every semester. In the first semester of this year, students said that the system to search for classes was too complicated. The university improved the system by making it possible to search for the course by name, but similar problems still occurred in the second semester. Many students expressed frustration over these repeated problems, and they said that the problems must be solved to make CNU’s educational environment better. The Chonnam Tribune looked into these repeated problems and also the inconvenience that students have felt due to the current course registration system.
Strict Controls over Student Capacity
The biggest problem of the current course registration system is that students cannot register for the courses they wish to take. As every class has a student capacity, once the number of applicants reaches the maximum capacity offered when the course initially opens, the system does not allow students to register for that class. This problem is severe, especially with teacher training courses that have classes which the students from the College of Education are required to attend in order to graduate.
According to a survey conducted by the Registrar’s Office, 80 students asked for the subject named ‘Introduction to Education Studies’, which had not been opened during the seasonal sessions for the last few years. The survey was designed to collect raw information on the demand for course registration so that they could offer courses and adjust the student capacity for these courses in the summer session of 2020. However, the maximum number of students for the class is limited to 30 all the times, which makes the problem worse. “Students majoring in biology education have mandatory classes that must be taken each semester. This means that part of my schedule has already been decided by the department, so the choice of available pedagogy classes is even lower. This makes registering for pedagogy classes even harder,” said Lee Han-gyeol (Freshman, Dept. of Biology Education).
Regarding this problem, a staff member at the Registrar’s Office (RO) said that the maximum number of students per class is determined according to the size of an assigned classroom and the opinion of the professor in charge. After examining the number of registered students over the past three years, they are trying to open additional classes or assign them to larger classrooms. But it is not enough to resolve the problem and to minimize student complaints. It is the students' right to enroll in the classes they want to take every semester. The university authorities should come up with some fundamental measures to help students register for the classes they wish to take.
Unascertainable Course Information
A syllabus for each course offers detailed information about whether the class will be done online/offline/blended, how the evaluation will be made, what type of lessons will be provided, and what assignments will be given out. The syllabus is essential for students to choose the right class. However, this fall semester, students had a hard time choosing the right class for themselves due to missing syllabuses.
The lecturer recruiting process for the fall semester was finished on August 14 which was a week after the first day of course registration. So, uploading syllabuses for classes that were assigned to those lecturers was obviously not possible before the course registration period. The RO’s staff said that on August 7, the first day of the course registration period, the percentage of missing syllabuses due to the late recruitment was less than 3.2%. Although this may appear to be a low percentage, the university should consider moving the recruitment schedule before the course registration period to allow students to choose the right classes for themselves.
On the other hand, there were some classes without a syllabus simply because professors had not uploaded it. When the RO finds those classes, they make sure the syllabuses get uploaded as soon as possible. However, checking if a syllabus has been uploaded for every single class is practically impossible. This problem seems to continue to repeat itself because uploading syllabuses depends on the individual professors’ will. CNU should come up with measures to try to encourage the professors to upload syllabuses to cope with the situation.
Pre-registration Unavailable for Additionally-admitted Students
The university’s course pre-registration system is not available for additionally-admitted freshmen in the spring semester. During the pre-registration period, students make a course wish list and reserve the classes they want to take in the upcoming semester. It is a lot easier and faster to register for those reserved classes during the actual course registration than enrolling in unreserved ones.
However, the freshmen who were additionally accepted because of their Korean SAT grades this year did not get a chance to pre-register for classes. They received their acceptance announcement from February 10 to February 17, but the course pre-registration of the first semester was from February 6 to February 7. "Students who have not reserved their classes before the course registration have to write down the subject codes to register for the classes that they want to take. It is impossible to register for the classes faster than a student who has already reserved their classes,” said a freshmen student.
The announcement of additional acceptance after the Korean SAT grades is scheduled to be made after the course pre-registration period in the first semester of 2021 again like this year. The right to choose the classes they want is a very important matter for students. The authorities need to try to find a way to give the additionally-admitted students the opportunity of making a course wish list before course registration.
Practical Solutions to the Problems
The course registration problems mentioned above will continue to repeat themselves every semester if the current system does not change. The authorities need to seek practical solutions by considering other universities’ course registration systems like Yonsei University’s mileage course enrollment system. It reflects the level of students’ willingness in enrolling in certain courses instead of being done on a first-come first-serve basis.
Students expressed their opinions as follows. Course syllabuses can be uploaded on time if the lecturer hiring process is made before the course registration period so that lecturers have enough time to upload syllabuses. There is also a need for a strict guideline so that professors who do not upload syllabuses before course registration should be disadvantaged in some way. The course pre-registration problem for additionally-accepted students can be resolved if the university moves the course pre-registration period after the final acceptance to give every student the right to choose their classes.
Since the problems regarding the current course registration system have been repeated for years, the best way to solve them is if the university administration listens to the opinions of the university members. Students, of course, should offer active suggestions to make a better educational environment.
By Han Seung-hwan, Tribune Reporter
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