December 8th, 2015
To: CNU Registration and Academic Offices
From: Jeni Taskesen
Amending Registration for Higher Efficiency and Fewer Problems
The purpose of this study is to determine what students of Christopher Newport University think of registration and satisfied they are with registration. This survey asked questions regarding organization of classes, average number of overrides needed per semester, ideas for the registrar’s office, stance on PLP/Honors (and athlete) priority registration, and overall satisfaction with the registration.
Registration can be effected by the amount of credits one has achieved and the programs that someone is (or is not) in and not by grade level. This student was done by an online survey and the number of students who participated were skewed toward seniors. The data suggest that people on average have more trouble obtaining courses that both have enough space and fit their schedule. The declared primary majors for the participating survey have very been very diverse but do have more people in popular majors including Communications, Biology, Psychology etc. accurately reflecting the student body. Several issues that occur in registration could be made by the suggestions and inferences introduced later. Interestingly, there is no significant different between satisfaction rates, people are equally satisfied and dissatisfied.
The data accurately portrays the student by a diverse range of majors, and increasing number of upperclassmen. The majority of students find they have difficulty arranging their course schedule because the classes they need are at the same time or that there is not enough space. The average number of overrides was on average about 1 per 5 courses in a semester. 57% disagree with how athletes & PLP/Honors are able above the class ahead of them. There was not a large significant difference in preference for having labs and lectures combined when registering. There was no preference in the arrangement of classes in how sciences are typically in the morning and humanities in the evening, of course except when there are times that overlap. Lastly, the satisfaction rates for students was not significantly different. The main ideas concluded from this research for registration are to have students register for their majors and then for electives after or to stop allowing students from registering ahead of the above of them starting at their junior year.
Keywords: CNU, Christopher Newport University, registration, PLP/Honors, schedule, classes
The Christopher Newport University (CNU) registration system is based on number of received credits. Since CNU requires 120 credit hours to graduate, 30 accomplished credits in needed to go on to the above class. Normally a student needs 30 to finish freshman year, then 60 for sophomore year etc. in order to graduate on time. Therefore, seniors register first, juniors register second, sophomores register third, and freshman register last. As post-undergraduate studies and the job market are more competitive, people often take extra classes to further their education effecting registration and sometimes even when people can graduate. CNU and an individual’s major require a certain number and level of courses to graduate on time. CNU offers a PLP (leadership) program and an Honors program which requires a student to take additional PLP/Honors courses and retain a certain GPA in order to stay in these programs. The benefits of being in these programs are priority registration and housing, scholarships etc. This usually causes these people to be able to register ahead of the class above them (ex. a PLP/Honors sophomore can register ahead of a non-PLP/Honors junior) and obtain upper level classes. Athletes are also able to register before non-PLP/Honors after PLP/Honors students. This can affect regular students from obtaining the courses they need in order to graduate on time. Problems in registering for classes and overrides are the only way to obtain needed classes. Usually overrides are needed to get into needed classes that have become full, but even then there are only so many overrides a class can handle. When planning for registration, upper courses can be at the same times or there are not enough seats available in the needed courses. CNU’s course schedule is arranged so that science courses (psychology, biology, math related courses, neuroscience etc.) are in the mornings and humanities (religious studies, English, history, political sciences etc.) and business course are offered in the evenings which allow for time conflicts. Also in registering for classes, courses that require an additional lab course are registered separately (ex. chemistry and the associating lab). In actually signing up for a particular course that has a lab, upper level classes must be signed up at the same time while lower level classes do not. This accounts for lower level general education requirements not needing a lab and upper level courses needing the associating lab. This can be a problem if there are an uneven number of slots, like 35 lecture slots with 30 slots for a course. There can be several problems in registering for needed courses.
This research was done by using a quantitative and ethnographic approach, survey data was collected to determine Christopher Newport University students’ class, major, etc. and their experiences in scheduling on average. The questions were mixed in arrangement and asked open-ended questions to see what different people thought about registration and any idea in how it should be amended. This cohort was confined to CNU students who check the Facebook pages of their associating graduating class.
Survey of 10 questions were asked through SurveyMonkey. Survey was distributed on Facebook pages that corresponded to the graduating class of CNU students (ex. Class of 2016 for seniors). Survey was also posted on these pages over time which corresponded to registration times of each class, meaning that since seniors register first, the survey was posted to their Facebook page first, then juniors and so on. Data was analyzed through SurveryMoney and organized on excel.
Findings & Analysis
The data accurately portrays the student by a diverse range of majors, and increasing number of upperclassmen as they become more aware of how registration affects them because they are nearing the end of the college career. The majority of students find they have difficulty arranging their course schedule because the classes they need are at the same time or that there is not enough space. The average number of overrides was on average about 1 per 5 courses in a semester. 57% disagree with how athletes & PLP/Honors are able above the class ahead of them. I expected this to be higher, but as many students voiced, it is very difficult to stay in these programs because they need to keep a certain GPA, do extra work outside of their classes, take extra classes that their majors do not require and need certain compensations to stay on track. The people who voiced the most concern with these programs tended to be either science majors (Biology, Psychology) and/or seniors or juniors. Which makes sense because they have more difficulty in obtaining the courses they need in order to graduate on time.
There was not a large significant difference in preference for having labs and lectures combined when registering because students liked having more control of when they have to take a lab, not just the times but also which semester. There was no preference in the arrangement of classes in how sciences are typically in the morning and humanities in the evening, of course except when there are times that overlap.
There was a large range of suggestions for the registration other than the expected “more classes available at different times” and “making it easier to get overrides” since these seem to be typical complaints. An athlete suggested that there should be more classes outside of the 2-6pm time window, which may be major specific but still should be considered. There was also a very large number of students saying that there needs to be more sections of popular, and higher level (300/400 level) courses that have a very small number of spots, because people usually need these classes and are not taking them for electives. Students voiced that the teachers they want should have a say in when or what they are teaching because teachers not knowing their course schedule is unacceptable. Interestingly there was a trend in popular science majors, like Biology, suggesting for more professors and having more difficulty in obtaining their needed courses.
There were two ideas that I found very plausible and could be implemented to make registration more functional. First, “allow [students] to submit a “test schedule” and make sure we are not hit with any unexpected prerequisite requirements”. This could be very useful for students in planning their schedules and would relieve stress for the registrar’s office for problems that occur the day of registration. Second, “we should only be able to register for the classes for our major and minors first. Then have a second round of registration for AI and electives. Still have seniors go first and freshmen go last. This would give those who actually need a certain class a better chance of getting in without having to complete an override”. This could be revolutionary for how registration is done at CNU. In theory, this could let upperclassmen who are focused on completing their major or minor relieving stressors for graduating on time. This lead me to the idea that registering above the class of a student could stop during their junior year (2nd semester). By this time PLP/Honors have fulfilled requirements to enter higher level classes and seniors would have much less trouble in getting their courses they need to graduate. Interestingly, the satisfaction rates for students was not significantly different.
Problems in registration occur during a student’s junior and senior year when they feel the stress of getting all the classes they need. Amendments need to be made to the way registration is done because not does not take into account for when people need to graduate and the different programs that students are in that affect registration.
Appendix & Data
Questions with the Associating Data
- What is your class standing?
- What is your major?
- When obtaining your courses do you find that there aren’t enough teachers (aren’t enough classes) or aren’t enough times (ex all times for a particular course are at the same time)?
- On average, about how many overrides have you done per semester? And about how many classes do you take a semester? ex. 2 (in first slot) overrides per 4 (in second slot) classes a semester.
On average: 1 override per 5 classes.
- Honors/PLP students & athletes are able to register ahead of the above class (ex. a junior in the honors program can register ahead of a senior not in the honors program).
Do you think this should be allowed?
- In registering, do you think it would be a good idea for lecture courses to come with a lab, instead of having to sign up for a lecture & lab separately? (There would be more choices as there are different combinations of lab & lectures, not less).
- When making your course schedule, are several of your classes at the same time?
- Science courses are typically in the morning, and humanities courses including business courses are typically in the afternoon or at night. Do you like this organization of subject courses?
- Do you have any legitimate suggestions for the registrar’s office &/or an academic department?
These answers will be discussed in the “Analysis” portion of this paper.
By. Jeni Taskesen