Believe it or not, the fall semester is halfway over and as students all across campus are getting ready to map out their spring 2010 semester, Western has made a significant change to the registration process reflective of the modern digital age.
Starting this semester, the university will unveil a new, up to date Web site, www.missouriwestern.edu/schedule. Effectively replacing the course registration paper booklets of old, this Web site is designed primarily to give students access to something the paper schedules didn’t always have; accurate, updated information.
“Going paperless means everything will be updated for students,” said Assistant Registrar Tracy Sharp. “You’re not going to be looking for old information anymore. Everything will be current.”
According to Tyson Schank, associate director of admissions, the Web site will also help improve and add on to the process of course registration.
“Instead of printing a 20 page document we only use for a month, we’d be using a Web site,” Schank said. “Students can look at the course description and they can see how many seats are left.”
Along with these new features, students will also be privy to viewing professor ratings, the dates the courses run through and the time the courses take place, which have been re-done from military time to standard time.
Last year, Enrollment Development, a team comprised of campus officials involved with advisement and enrollment, decided to pursue the Web site option in favor of the booklet as part of their mission to solve enrollment related issues.
“It’s a living document,” said Judy Grimes, dean of student affairs. “The minute that information goes to press, it can be outdated. It’s really difficult to plan that far ahead and get accurate information.”
From Schank’s perspective, the change from paper to digital not only makes the registration process better for students, but it also makes things easier for the university as well.
“We spend a lot of money on the paper schedules,” Schank said. “About $6,000 is being saved. There is no cost for putting the course schedule online. It’s pulling information straight from the Banner student information system. It means we’re being more efficient.”
According to Schank, Enrollment Development has done focus groups and thus far, those participating have found the Web site accessible and easy to use. He is wary of potential problems, citing that it will likely take some time for students to get used to a different way of registering for courses. Nevertheless, Schank feels that in the end, the switch to digital course schedules will be beneficial for all involved, most importantly the student body.
“It will save students time because they will find their classes quicker,” Schank said. “[Above all], we want to get better, more accurate information.”