It’s a predicament all too familiar to most Penn State students.
You spend three hours poring over your degree audit, cross-referencing all professors offered for various class periods with your work schedule until finally you have it — the perfect schedule. You’re looking forward to taking fitness walking to fulfill your health and physical activity course requirement. Everything has finally come together. That is, until the clock strikes midnight, and it’s time for you to schedule.
After you plug in the codes to the courses you selected, an error messages pops up on eLion, notifying you that fitness walking is full.Your heart drops – you have always wanted to take the course, and you thought you would be able to get it by second semester of your senior year. Now, you have to find a backup plan to be able to graduate. And here you thought this semester would be different. Does this sound familiar?
While compromise is necessary in scheduling courses, because really creating the perfect schedule is nearly impossible, if there is one course a student wants to take, and he waits to schedule it until his senior year, the class should be open to him. He should not have to put a course on his watchlist and left waiting until the end of winter break because he hasn’t been able to get a spot in the class. He should just get the spot because there should be a space available.
On the watchlist of nearly every class, there is such a wide range of students — from those needing the class to graduate and those looking to fill space on their schedules. It should not be a competition to see who can plug numbers into eLion quickest. It should be evaluated based on who needs the class — it would be great if eLion made the watchlist only available to those who can demonstrate a need for the requested class, or at least give preference to those students. As of now, some students who schedule early are saving spots to make available to their friends. Really, that is not fair to other students and should not be allowed,
In some cases, classes will be opened up when there is a large watchlist for the course, but this does not happen enough. We encourage the university to use the information that is at its disposal. If there is a high demand for a course, add more sections, if possible.
If that is not possible this semester, serious review of how to address current scheduling issues needs to occur in the future.