Registration is a MESS

by All Around CMU-Q

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By Amna Al Noaimi

CMU’s online course registration is created for currently enrolled students at our Qatar campus. It makes the course registration process simple and convenient. It has many benefits, considering that the students can search for class availability on their own. But registering for classes, however, has been a burden for almost all of the students. John Papinchak – the university registrar- had sent an email on November 2nd telling that the students must start planning their spring course schedules via CMU’s Student Information Online (SIO). From that day, the hussle has started.

A CMUQ Open House was held in CMUQ’s Majlis on November 6. The professors gathered describing the courses they’s offering for the the students. Some students were really interested about asking the professors about the courses, while others, of course, bunched up around the FREE FOOD tables during the Open House.

Professor John Robertson, on the other hand, started emailing the students with all the needed information about the courses and registration. During the registration week, Robertson’s office as well as Sheila’s office were filled with students asking about the courses, when the freshmen have gone through the same process, except they were at Professor Oliver’s office.

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Class registration started on Monday November 12 for seniors, causing the delay in the course registration for juniors, sophomores and freshmen by a day each. You definitely saw our CMUQ students  running around CMUQ building at 1:55 pm, where some were going to the library or to the labs, to log in to their SIO pages in order to register. Students are “fighting” to get in to their the courses; they are trying to get in so that they avoid being placed in the waitlist.

Maryam Al-Haddad (BA freshman) is not satisfied with her spring schedule, as a freshman student, she finds the registration unfair to be in the last group of people who can register for classes. “The worst thing about registering for courses is not finding spaces and I ended up registering for classes that I don’t want”.

Khaled Al-Emadi (CS sophomore) complained that there is a core course that he should take in the spring semester as in the plan but it’s not offered and it is a prerequisite for other courses. Also he added that “CS students must take 4 science courses and I only toke physics lab in Pittsburg. They are not offering many courses here and if they do, the courses don’t have many sections, and so we end up in the waitlists, as I am in the waitlist for three courses”. He added, “We (the sophomores) have the least choices compared to the others because many courses either clash with core courses or are already filled with juniors and seniors”. Khaled was so annoyed about the classes’ time; he said, “Most of the CS courses start late”.

Most students don’t find the time (2 pm) suitable for registration, because they have classes, as Maryam skipped the previous class and was 10 minutes late to the class that starts at 2:00. But Saleh Al-Raisi (BA junior) didn’t find the time as a problem because he doesn’t have a class during this time. He commented that the worst thing about registering for courses as a junior student is being restricted with the track courses but he can’t overload. Moreover, Saleh mentioned “Students consider timing as the most difficult thing for planning the semester because no one wants to stay late at the university and at the same time no one wants to wake up early”.

Once registration started, most of the students register for the breadth courses first so that they find a place in the course, then register for classes that have different sections so that they can find place in the preferred section, and the last courses they register for are the core courses. Khaled still didn’t register for his core courses; he said “eventually the core courses will be registered by themselves to my schedules, so I don’t care about the core courses now”.

On the other hand, Al-Jawhara Al-Mana and Noor Al-Mohannadi (BA seniors) didn’t have any problems about registering, since they are seniors and they are the first batch that register for class, they said “it feels good to be the first people, we don’t have to worry about classes, waitlists because we unlimited choices”.  But they find the availability of courses is one of the difficulties for planning the semester, especially minor classes as they are taking a minor in architecture and they still didn’t fulfill their minor requirements.

The scary thing about planning or registering for courses is not having the enough knowledge about the courses. Some students find the course descriptions are not enough to decide whether to register for this course or not. Professor Robertson agrees that the course descriptions are not really helpful, because they are a “snapshot” to the course, he added “Students must go the course instructor and ask them for the details of the courses”.

Professor Robertson said that the obstacles that they found in offering the courses are the faculty they have in addition to the students’ needs and requirements. Professor Robertson knows that students are uncomfortable with the time registration since many students’ classes start at this time; he said, “ The registration time is connected to the Pittsburg timeline because we use the same system. We tried to do it at 12 pm but it is 4 am in Pittsburg”. Most of students’ concern about being in the waitlists, but Robertson wants to assure the students that they will clear the waitlist, meaning all the students in the waitlists will be in the courses that they registered in. Robertson faces the most common students’ question, “ Why can’t I get in this course?”. It seems that most students don’t understand the prerequisite courses.

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