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Registrar’s Office Tests New ‘Waiting List’

By Justin Muszynski

The Registrar’s Office is piloting a new online waiting list this fall that sends students an email when a spot opens up in a particular class.

Once a member of the list receives an email, that student has 24 hours to register for the class before the spot is given to the next person in the queue.

“It eliminates a roadblock from students,” said Patrick Tucker, Registrar. “Rather than having to get special permission or an override, students can get into classes this way.”

Tucker says that of the approximate 2,800 courses offered at CCSU, 450 have the waiting list capability. Thus far, it has been up to each department to decide if, and for what classes they want to use it for.

“We tried it out before, but on a smaller scale and now we’re expanding it,” he said.

Su-Ann Seidl, a junior accounting student, utilized the waiting list this summer. She signed up for an accounting class that was essential to her major in June. Earlier this month she received an email telling her that a spot opened up and she registered for it right away.

“I thought it was great to at least know that I was in line,” said Seidl. “I was ready to give up on the class and take it at a community college, but then I found out I could get in. I think the system is great.”

Carl Lovitt, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, says he thinks the list will create a domino effect. When a student signs up for a class that just opened up, and then drops the one they didn’t need, the spot will be available for another student.

“You have fewer empty seats in your classes and you provide an opportunity for students to take courses that they want to get into,” said Lovitt. “Personally I’d like to see this extended across the curriculum.”

He also points out that previously trying to get a spot in a class that was filled was a guessing game that didn’t allow students with more credits any priority.

“In the past when a student wanted to register for a course and that course was full, there was no record that the student tried to enroll,” said Lovitt.

The lists allow a maximum of either five or ten students to join depending on the class capacity. Since the start of registration in April, Tucker says that about 800 spots have opened up in classes with waiting lists. Of those, he doesn’t know how many were actually filled, but assumes that some students are taking advantage of the opportunity. He also says it plays into students’ hands that have accumulated more credits.

“It’s first come, first serve, so it benefits the students with more credits who can get into the course that they need to graduate,” said Tucker.  “At the end of the day, the goal is to get students into the classes they need to. This is what we hope the waiting list will help with.”

One Comment

  1. clyburnmaj August 31, 2012

    Great story, Justin. Glad to see the Registrar's Office is joining the 21st century! Wait list features on virtually any Learning Management System are VERY easy to use and almost entirely automated. It should be a no brainer for the University to mandate a waiting list for every class going forward.

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