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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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OPINION | Housing, course registration need overhaul, transparency

Campbell Harris

So much of our lives as college students depend on annual housing registration and biannual course registration. These are key factors in determining how our life as students are shaped. 

But currently, these registration systems lack transparency and fairness.

The model could use some changes. Publicly available information about class registration states “Time tickets are calculated based on a student’s level (graduate or undergraduate) and number of earned credit hours … students with a higher count of earned hours to register before those with fewer earned hours.”

I propose the following change: a student’s time slot for fall course registration should be chosen randomly — within their year — as opposed to being based on total earned hours. 

Tulane University undergraduate courses are usually three credits. Language classes, however, typically have a fourth credit due to their online homework being counted as an additional hour, therefore making up a fourth credit. The problem lies in the fact that plenty of other courses have online homework and do not gain that fourth credit. For example, Microeconomics — ECON 1010 — also has online homework models, but is only worth three credits. In the earned-hour hierarchy, students that have taken language classes have an unfair leg-up on those who haven’t.

It seems strange to split hairs about what kinds of homework are worthy of a fourth credit. Take another three credit course for example; Contemporary Political Ideas — POLT 3820. This course’s homework consists primarily of analyzing political ideologies present in various speeches,  political documents and textbooks. Who is Tulane to say that some homework is worthy of a fourth credit and other homework isn’t? 

This tweak to the system would not punish students for undertaking the course load that fits their needs and obligations. Life is unpredictable and can deal out problems beyond one’s control. For example, if a student’s family experiences financial issues and they need to work more, that student should not be punished with a lesser choice for future classes when they return to a full course load.

Each academic year contains fall registration and spring registration. Say there are 12 time slots for juniors, spread over three days. In this proposal, a student gets the second earliest time slot of their year. In the spring, the same student would get the 11th time slot instead of two random selections where they might get extremely lucky or unlucky. 

This system would restore order to what often invokes exasperation. Students could rest knowing that the system is fair. They would also be able to plan that next semester accordingly. Currently, students are able to place courses in their schedule planner without certainty that the course will be available. Knowing one’s exact time slot months in advance would help plan out consequential decisions about major requirements, preferable professors for important classes and more.

As with course registration, a good time slot is everything when it comes to housing. Under the current system, students are told their time slot for housing selection while housing groups are still being formed. This process creates a system in which someone’s value as a roommate can be swayed by their time slot and whether their group can still land one of the prized living locations. 

The change I’d propose is for housing groups to be formed prior to the release of time slots. This way, the group as a whole receives a time slot, and there is more stability to the process. Less total time slots would hopefully lead to a less chaotic few days. 

Where one lives and the classes one takes are essential aspects of college. With a few changes, these systems can be fairer and produce more of an equal opportunity for students to experience the best Tulane University has to offer.

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