August 29, 2003

Online Add/Drop System Replaces Lines at Barton

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Remember the line of bleary-eyed students that used to snake around Barton Hall every fall the day before classes started? That line is no more.

Many Cornell students still woke up early on Wednesday to complete the familiar task of adding and dropping courses. This year, however, instead of waiting in line to get drop slips signed, students were able to add and drop their courses online.

Online add/drop is a relatively new process at Cornell which was added to the standard features of the “Just the Facts” software last year. The program allows students to add and drop classes instantaneiously instead of waiting to get an add/drop slip signed before formally adding or dropping the class. Online add/drop began Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Since the first campus-wide online add/drop in January of last year, several changes have been made in the system. According to David Yeh, assistant vice president and University registrar, “Rather than schedule each class, as of yesterday, everyone had access…. Students were not limited.” Previously, each graduating class was assigned a date and time that they could begin online add/drop, beginning with seniors and juniors.

Although all students had access to the add/drop server, Yeh said no technical difficulties were experienced, and all of the systems functioned efficiently.

“There’s been probably 500,000 to a million hits on that server…. We’re continuing to monitor it.”

Another change in the system allows students to access online add/drop while not on campus. According to Yeh, this feature will allow students who are abroad or away for the semester to add and drop classes with the rest of the University.

“Our hope is to provide students with some flexibility,” Yeh explained.

A formal add/drop at Barton Hall did not take place this year, as all students utilized the add/drop online. The Office of the Registrar took steps to ensure students did not make the mistake of going to Barton. “We even posted some people near Barton [to turn people away],” Yeh said. According to Yeh, the volunteers did not have to remind anyone of the new online process.

Terri Zelasko ’04 said that she was extremely relieved that there was no line.

“Freshman year I had to stand in line all day for a math class and I still didn’t get it at the end of the day. This was much better,” she said.

Kim Pinkey ’04 had a similar reaction to the new process. “It was amazing,” she said. “We didn’t have to wait in that godforsaken line [at the old course exchange].”

Yeh said that students have been pleased with online add/drop since its inception last year.

“Last year we had some very positive feedback,” he said.

In addition to helping students efficiently add and drop classes, the new program also will benefit the colleges and college registrars.

According to Yeh, “In general, the colleges and students have been pleased.”

The new system “gives college registrars more time to really manage special situations and issues,” Yeh said.

Faculty checking class lists will be able to immediately know accurate counts of the students in their classes. According to Yeh, “Colleges are not having to delay getting into the system” to check class lists.

One feature in the online add/drop system allows faculty advisors to either require that their students see them to discuss add and drop choices, or allow students to complete the process on their own. According to Yeh, “We give faculty the ability to make decisions” about whether or not their students need to come see them before making course choices.

The online add/drop will allow students to immediately know whether or not they are enrolled in a particular course. It will not, however, place students on a waiting list if they still wish to enroll in that class.

“Right now, there are no wait lists [in the online add/drop system],” Yeh said. “That is something we want to build in.”

Students will be able to add courses unitl Sept. 19. The deadline to drop courses is Oct. 17.

Archived article by Kate Cooper