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Survey seeks to improve class registration

<p>Dance Appreciation courses will no longer fill core learning requirements.</p>

Dance Appreciation courses will no longer fill core learning requirements.

A new survey being released today will ask students about courses they were or were not able to register for next semester, why they were locked out of them, as well as questions about where they live and the University’s bus system, said Christopher Morett, director of the Office of Scheduling and Space Management.

The “Rate Your Course Schedule Survey,” designed by Morett and the Rutgers Office of Scheduling and Space Management, is meant for the University to glean “what is really happening, as told by the students,” Morett said. 

There are “plenty of anecdotal data” about what the student course demand is, Morett said, but no office at the University has directly asked students about their experiences.

Emily Zee, a School of Engineering junior, piloted the survey before its release. She said the survey was short and user-friendly.

The survey, that can be accessed here, began by asking for her RUID, and the following screen showed her a list of all the classes she registered for next semester. It also asked if she got into the classes she wanted on her preferred campuses.

“The end goal of the survey is to help departments get a feeling of how students feel about registration,” she said.

The main issue Zee sees with scheduling is that certain class times overlap, so she hopes the feedback from the survey is put to use by the University to figure out more efficient course schedules.

Zee, who is minoring in environmental policy, said those classes do not coincide with her engineering classes, so she has only been able to take one class per semester toward her minor. She hopes the survey can improve course scheduling between different departments.

The survey also asks questions about students’ living situations to see if there is a correlation between where students choose to live and the campuses where they take classes, Morett said.

“Part of reducing student travel is understanding if we can better coordinate where you live with where you take class,” he said.

Scott Walker, the executive director of Academic Support Services for student athletes at Rutgers, met with Morett for the survey and went through the questions himself.

The survey will help the University understand if and where it needs to add more sections of courses, especially introductory courses like communication, United States history or psychology, he said.

Walker deals with scheduling student athletes and said the survey can help make course scheduling more efficient so students do not have to travel from Livingston campus to Cook and Douglass campuses at 5:30 p.m. 

“When you’re jumping from Livingston, anything to go to Cook and Douglass … oh my God, it’s just, you never know,” Walker said. “We’ll have kids send us a picture on the bus, and you can see the traffic on Route 18.”

Some sports hold their practices in the morning, which is “simple” for students because they can schedule their classes in the afternoon, Walker said.

But other sports practice in the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and with the traffic on Route 18, Walker said trying to schedule classes around that time is a “headache.”

More classes offered at 8:10 a.m. would be helpful for those athletes who have afternoon practice, he said.

Jamie Layne, a School of Arts and Sciences junior who also piloted the survey, said in an email that the survey was simple and self-explanatory, but left out the crucial question of how long it takes students to actually register for classes.

She thinks students will be responsive to the survey since it is so short and “requires minimum thinking,” she said. 

“I think the survey is necessary for the Rutgers community because it will enlighten others and provide information on how often students are getting the classes that they want [or] need,” Layne said.

Morett said students should take the survey because it can potentially make the University a better place for them, but for those students who are not convinced, there is another reason.

“[The survey] could potentially help Rutgers meet their needs better, absolutely, but if you’re a senior or a cynic, there’s prizes,” he said.

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