Beginning in the spring semester, Cornell students will no longer need to go from department to department in order to get their add-drop slips signed thanks to the new online add-drop process recently announced by the University Registrar’s office.
According to David Yeh, assistant vice president and University registrar, “We’ve been planning and working on developing this over the past two years.”
The system functions much like CoursEnroll with students being able to add or drop classes using a program in an updated version of Just the Facts.
“This is an extension to CoursEnroll. It’s a continuous enhancement to our desire to provide service delivery and using technology as a vehicle,” Yeh said.
Just the Facts
The first step in integrating the online add-drop system will occur after Thanksgiving break, when the new version of Just the Facts will be available for students to download to their computers. Students will then be able to use the system from their homes at the beginning of the semester.
“Beginning Dec. 2, what students can actually do is go into Just the Facts and find out whether or not they need to see their faculty advisor. Each of the colleges has made a determination of whether or not their students must see their faculty advisor or not,” Yeh said.
The new system is designed so that students who want to add or drop will be able to see a “flag” on the add-drop screen that indicates whether or not they are required to visit their advisor before proceeding. According to the announcement released by the Registrar’s office, students in the College of Art, Architecture and Planning; the College of Engineering; the School of Hotel Administration; the Internal Transfer Division and the graduate school will all have to meet with their advisor before adding or dropping.
According to Yeh, the advisors will be able to turn off the flag when they deem it appropriate. “There’s a lot of local control that’s available,” he said.
“It [online add-drop] doesn’t take away the importance of advising because it really still encourages faculty to have that advising and planning for students on a longer term basis than once a year or once a semester,” Yeh added.
All students will be able to use the online CoursEnroll beginning in January. According to the Registrar’s office, seniors and juniors only will be permitted to add and drop courses from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. on Jan. 16. During the same hours on Jan. 17, sophomores, freshmen, graduate and professional students will be permitted to add and drop. Finally, beginning Jan. 20, online add-drop will be available 24 hours a day beginning at 7:30 a.m.
The semester deadline for adding a course will be Feb. 7 and the deadline for dropping a course will be March 7.
All students except for extramural students will be able to utilize online add-drop. This includes transfer students or those coming back from time away from Cornell who will also be able to use online add-drop to build their course list, as many do not participate in CoursEnroll.
For Lauren Doliner ’04, who as a January freshman, had to add and drop courses at course exchange to create a schedule during a very difficulty time. Many new students, like Lauren, were busy participating in activities such as the Greek system’s formal membership recruitment the week before classes began during last January’s add-drop period.
Doliner said that had she been able to utilize the add-drop, she would have definitely saved herself time. “I wouldn’t have had to worry about being late because I would have been able to add all of my courses from home,” she said.
Yeh said that a formal course exchange will not take place this year because of the online add-drop. Paper add-drop slips for the most part will be taken out of circulation, except in certain cases.
“There are some exceptions,” Yeh said. “The exceptions are those who are trying to take more than a normal load, defined by each college.”
One of the benefits to having a computerized add-drop is the ability to ensure that students are added to classes or dropped from classes immediately. “When you submit your requests for add-drop, you’re in that course or you’re out of that course. You’re not waiting to find out whether or not you’re in like you do with CoursEnroll. CoursEnroll is really like a pre-enrollment, whereas add-drop is real,” Yeh said.
Students who are not able to get into a course can still talk with the professor about admittance.
“This doesn’t mean that you can’t have the add-drop form and go to a faculty member. Most faculty are receptive to talking with the student about their enrolling in their course,” Yeh said. “We don’t want the system to necessarily drive and make decisions for you.”
In developing the online add-drop, Yeh said that a number of different factors were considered.
“There’s a set of controls that the colleges have said is very important to them and that’s what the system allows and basically automates,” he said.
The Registrar’s office considered the limits placed on courses because of size or school. “One of the complaints we’ve heard and the colleges have heard is that sometimes if there is a student in a certain college they can’t get into courses in other colleges. What the system allows each college to do now, especially for larger courses, is to be able to actually assign numbers of enrollments for college or course,” Yeh said.
The online add-drop will not create waiting lists, according to Yeh. “We don’t have requisite checking, but that’s because we’re really looking at how this is going to change and then we’re going to add new functionality as we go along. This is kind of a first step,” he said.
“Right now we want to put the core in and then we’re going to look at how we can fit wait lists as one additional features in terms of how students can get into courses,” he added.
In testing the computerized version, Yeh said, “College registrars played a key role in testing. We also had a number of students help us with testing.”
One of the most important benefits to the online add-drop is the time it saves students. “I hope, and we envision when we work with the colleges, that this will really help students in terms of getting into classes and doing the adds and drops more sanely than they have before,” Yeh said.
Additionally, the online add-drop will save administrators and staff a lot of time because of the decrease in paper add-drop slips.
“This was the next advancement to CoursEnroll. We were trying to look at ways in which we could do a number of things using technology as that vehicle. One is to really improve services to students and, number two, look at what is really the high cost of transactions. Every time we have a piece of paper, someone’s got to enter that data that’s already been filled out somewhere else. We have a lot of paper going around.”
Maggie Lorenc ’04 said that she would definitely utilize the online add-drop because of its convenience and quickness. “It’ll save me having to wake up early to stand in a ridiculously long line to add a single class,” she said.
Archived article by Kate Cooper