About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How times have changed

Classes began this week for me and my nephew just left for college. Those of us old enough to remember, were reminiscing about the dreaded registration process. Years ago, we would be given a day to report to the gym. Armed with a 10 point catalog of courses and a list of at least 10-15 potential courses you wanted to sign up for, you would begin the day long ordeal called registration.

A lot of the registration process was strategy. You would try to determine before going in where each department was located in the gym (inevitably you would need one course at one end of the gym and another perhaps even in another building). Next you would need to predict which course and section you wanted would be the most popular. There were two possible strategies: go directly to the popular course, wait in line a long time, and possibly get closed out of the other courses you wanted or get the other courses, hope there was an opening for the course you wanted, but make sure there was back-up with the chances being you would not get in.

Of course, sometimes you would make a mistake in your prediction, so a course you thought would be a shoe in was the first to close. This would probably happen as you were the next or two away from registration, at which time they would post the closed section. Then you would hear the groans as everyone left the line to regroup. Once the punch cards (computer card) were gone, you could put your name on a waiting list, but chances were that was it! The registration process did not allow you to register for the class unless you had that computer card.

Registration today

Today, the registration process is at least faster and requires less than a day to sign up for the classes. However, there are other little quirks to the systems. At our school (and I am sure others), your registration is "dumped" if you have outstanding holds due to unpaid bills, parking violations, lack of medical documentation, or sometimes, the computer just doesn't like your name.

I had a health hold put on my records because the medical office was audited and my records were flagged for my not having a mumps vaccination. What the doctor and auditors did not do was to look at the records from my pediatrician (the smartest thing I ever did was to get a copy of my records when my pediatrician retired--my kids' records are now put into a central repository so they will be available even if the doctor is no longer around). You see, I HAD the mumps as a tootler. My oldest sister started school the year I was born, so my mother had 4 children under the age of 6 with mumps, german measles, and chickenpox within a year. Fortunately for me, I have no memory of my childhood illnesses, but I do have a record!

When students' registrations are dumped because of holds, it really causes a headache for the department administrators, as they scramble to get graduating students into required courses. Of course, this also means that, just like the old system, many students take your class, not because they want it, but because it fits into their schedule. This happened to me last year and I ended up spending much of the class motivating the students on the topic. I must have done a good job, however, as I received high marks on my class evaluations.

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