The first two weeks of a semester are hard enough on students and faculty without the added pressure of students trying to squeeze into full classes with no seats to spare.
At long last, the Fresno State scheduling and registrarâ€™s offices have developed a new feature in the registering system that allows students to place their names on an electronic wait list when a class is full.
â€œThe new wait list is a means of collecting names electronically as opposed to an instructorâ€™s paper wait list on the first day of class,â€ said Tina Beddall, Fresno Stateâ€™s registrar for the last 22 years.
Anne Burkholder, Fresno Stateâ€™s academic scheduling coordinator, said the additional functionality in the PeopleSoft system will now allow wait list to be an option along with the usual add or drop options.
â€œWhen a class is full, check the wait list box,â€ Burkholder said. â€œOnce the student selects the full class, the process will run every day. As students drop classes, wait list students will be evaluated. If there are no scheduling conflicts, the student will be invited to enroll.â€
Beddall said the individual departments will decide what classes collect names for the wait list and how many names will go on the wait list. When the department turns on the wait list feature for a class, a little orange triangle wait list icon will be added as an option for registering.
â€œWhen a student checks the box for wait list, it submits a request like a regular add request,â€ Beddall said. â€œIt will confirm the class is closed, but will confirm your name is on the wait list and also the number you are on the wait list.â€
Beddall and Burkholder agreed the new wait list option would have a huge effect on students.
â€œThe new wait list is definitely more fair,â€ Beddall said. â€œIn the past, when a class is closed, itâ€™s closed. Then if a student drops the class, the next lucky student that requests the class will get the seat even if 10 other students tried before. Students will appreciate having this feature because it adds a fairness value.â€
Besides allowing all students to have a fair chance to get into a full class, Burkholder said students wonâ€™t have to check every day to see if a class is open because students will be electronically notified of class availability changes.
A pilot was conducted with the social work department this fall semester to work out any kinks in the system. Four classes were put on wait list and each class had four to five sections turned on.
â€œStudents figured it out quickly as an option and used it,â€ Burkholder said. â€œThe pilot went very well. Departments got feedback from students, and the faculty was quite happy to see students on wait list to evaluate the demand of a class and to see if more sections of a class were needed due to student interest.â€
Beddall said the overall success of the pilot made administrators comfortable allowing the implementation of the wait list option campus-wide for all departments.
Burkholder said students should be aware that while the wait list option allows a student to wait list several sections of a class, once enrolled in one section of the class, students must take themselves off the wait list for the other sections.
â€œIf you donâ€™t remove yourself off the wait list for the other sections, you take spots away from other students,â€ Burkholder said.
Beddall said students should also know that placing their name on a wait list may create false hopes.
â€œIf you are not paying attention to time conflicts, the system is not going to enroll you,â€ Beddall said. â€œIf you are number one on a wait list and have a time conflict that you donâ€™t realize, someone else will get that spot.â€
Nov. 9, the first day of registration, will be the first day to wait list a class, Burkholder said. Jan. 29, the end of the second week of instruction for the spring 2008 semester, will be the last day to wait list a class.
After that date, all class additions will be based on department consent and require a permission number to add.
â€œThis new feature is something students and faculty will appreciate,â€ Beddall said. â€œStudents have asked for it, and it gets faculty out of the business of wait listing. Faculty can teach during the first two weeks of school instead of worrying about all the adds and drops and wait lists.â€