By Elizabeth Howell
Students will be able to automatically enroll in any one of the 50 most popular College courses from a waitlist thanks to a new function on digital platform OPUS, which will go live on Monday Nov. 24, according to a Nov.18 College-wide email. The release of the feature corresponds to the first day of the Add/Drop/Swap period for the Spring 2015 semester.
This pilot program will allow students to cease frequently checking OPUS to enroll in these courses if a professor or a department will not overload them.
“With [the] waitlist, students will have the peace of mind that when a space opens up, they’ll be added to the class in the order in which they joined the waitlist,” Communications Director of the Emory College Office for Undergraduate Education Steve Savage wrote in an email to the Wheel.
Students will be added to the class in the order that they sign up for the waitlist, according to the email from Savage. However, students will not be enrolled in the class if they are already registered for another class at the same time or if enrollment in the course would exceed the maximum number of credit hours the student is eligible to take.
If students decide they no longer want enroll in a particular course, they will be able to remove themselves from the waitlist at any time.
For this pilot program, students can waitlist on particularly popular courses such as Introduction to Anthropology, Calculus 1, Political Science Methods and Introduction to Film.
“The courses involved in the pilot were chosen and discussed in consultation with departments around campus,” Savage wrote.
Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in Emory College of Arts and Sciences Joanne Brzinski and other senior members of the Office of the Registrar decided to add the waitlist function after faculty and students asked for it over a number of years.
Departments who receive many requests from students to overload into courses particularly expressed interest in pursuing the feature, according to Savage.
“… We hope this feature will allow students to take a step back from ‘OPUS stalking,'” he said. “In this respect we are responding to student demand for such a feature.”
He added that the waitlist will also allow departments to gauge when they should add another section of a course.
One drawback of the waitlist is that students must keep the time period the class is offered open in order to be added to a course from the waitlist, Savage said. However, hopes to find a solution to this problem in the future.
College freshman Carly Moore said that she thought this problem with the new function made the course enrollment process more ambiguous.
“I wouldn’t be able to enroll in backup classes or filler classes in case I don’t get my first one because I wouldn’t get off the waitlist,” she said. “You have to have free spots, and you can’t exceed credits for your spot to be given to you.”
Savage said he see the function being offered for most College courses in future semesters in addition to opening earlier in the enrollment process.
“In either respect, we’re all confident the pilot will be a success,” he said. “And any lessons learned will factor into how we manage this feature in future semesters.”
– By Elizabeth Howell, Managing Editor
Update 11/21 3:03 p.m.: The article was updated to reflect a minor change in the pilot program. Rather than offering General Chemistry (Chem 142), the pilot program will offer Calculus 1 (Math 111).