Direct Enrollment Proposal
This is a draft proposal for a new course registration system. It is intended for discussion purposes only; it is not the final design of the system and no decision has been made regarding a change from the current course registration system.
Overview: Direct Enrollment vs. Course Request Systems
DePauw’s current course enrollment system has two phases. During the first phase, students submit course requests, which are processed in a batch. The second phase is an online registration adjustment process, through which students enroll directly in courses.
The proposed system also has two phases--Priority Registration and Open Registration--but both are direct enrollment processes that allow students to enroll directly from a list of courses (their Course Watch) they’ve assembled prior to opening of their assigned registration period.
Phases in the Registration Cycle
The proposed system breaks into three cycles: Advising and Enrollment Preparation, Priority Registration, and Open Registration.
Advising and Enrollment Preparation: This phase extends from when the Schedule of Classes opens to when students enroll in courses. During this time, students add courses to their Course Watch and meet with their advisor to discuss/review their selections. When the academic advisor is satisfied that student has an appropriate plan for enrollment, he/she will give students an Advising Confirmation Code that will enable them to enroll in courses when their registration window opens.
Priority Registration: This is a one week period during which students begin enrolling in courses. Each semester students are assigned a Priority Registration Time based on their registration class standing and place in the alphabet. When their time comes, students may begin selecting courses to enroll in from their Course Watch. During Priority Registration, both eligibility and priority criteria are in effect. Though students can add courses to the Course Watch for which they do not meet the eligibility or priority criteria, they may not enroll in those courses unless they have obtained an Eligibility Code. During Priority Registration, students may be enrolled in a maximum of 3.0 course credits. They may drop courses from their enrollments and add others, but they cannot go above 3.0 course credits.
Open Registration: The Open Registration period begins immediately after the Priority Registration has been completed. During Open Registration, eligibility criteria still apply but priority criteria do not. Students may enroll in as many credits as they wish.
Course Eligibility and Priority
Eligibility: Eligibility criteria must be met for the student to enroll in the course. They may include prerequisite coursework, placement results, class standing, major and program membership. For instance, the eligibility criteria for a senior seminar may include a prerequisite (e.g., the department’s research methods course), class standing (must be a senior), and major (must be a declared major in the area the senior seminar covers). Eligibility criteria are in effect during both the priority and open phases of registration.
Priority: Priority criteria are preferences for course enrollment. Like eligibility criteria they may include class standing, major, program membership, requirement need but they are in effect only during the priority phase of registration. For instance, a course may have a priority for sophomores who need to complete their W competency course. Only students who match that priority will be allowed to enroll during the priority phase of registration. If there are spaces remaining when the open registration begins, students who do not match the priority may enroll in the course.
Access Codes and Permissions
Advising Confirmation Code: This code is issued by the academic advisor and confirms that the student has met with his/her advisor and has an appropriate enrollment plan. The Advising Confirmation Code is required for course enrollment in both priority and open phases.
Eligibility Code: This code overrides any eligibility and priority criteria that may block a student’s enrollment in the course. In many cases, the eligibility code is equivalent to the “or permission of instructor” statement in course prerequisites. An Eligibility Code does not guarantee enrollment in a course; it only allows students to request enrollment during either the priority or open phases of enrollment.
Special Permission Code: Enrolls a student directly in a course. Overrides all eligibility and priority criteria and course limits, but will not enroll the student in a course conflict.
These modules are listed roughly in the order in which students will encounter them, though many of these processes may occur repeatedly through the registration cycles.
Registration Profile: Displays information relevant to students’ registration status—e.g., class standing for registration, major(s), holds, requirement alerts—and their Priority Registration Time. There will also be a registration status notice, which will be set to “Ready to Register” when the Advising Confirmation Code has been entered and all registration holds cleared.
Schedule of Classes: Identical to current SOC but with a Course Detail button included.
Advising Confirmation and Permissions: Used by advisors to generate the Advising Confirmation Code and by instructors and department chairs to generate Eligibility and Special Permission codes.
Course Detail: Appears when the Course Detail button is selected from the SOC. Gives more detailed information on the course, including course description, all priority and eligibility criteria, and all course footnotes. Includes Check Eligibility/Priority and Return to SOC buttons.
Course Watch Confirmation: This window confirms the results of priority and eligibility checks. It has fields where an Eligibility Code or Special Permission Code may be entered and includes an Add to Course Watch button.
Course Watch: The working list of courses the student is considering for enrollment. There is no limit on the number of courses that can be added to the Course Watch. Next to each listing are flags that indicate eligibility and priority status, a link back to the Course Watch Confirmation where an Eligibility Code may be entered, a Delete link that removes the course from the Course Watch, and an Enroll link, which becomes live when the student’s Priority Registration Time arrives.
Enrollment Request: Appears when the enrollment link is selected from a course in the Course Watch. This window will have basic information on the course (course number, time, instructor) and a button confirming that the student wishes to enroll in this course.
Enrollment Confirmation: If the student confirms that he/she wants to enroll in the course the system checks for time conflicts with courses already enrolled and for course availability. If these checks are cleared, the student is enrolled in the course. If not, he/she receives a message why they were not enrolled and given the opportunity to be added to the waitlist for the course or to switch courses (i.e., drop the course that is causing the conflict and add this course).
Priority Registration Time Protocol
The protocol for assigning Priority Registration Times will be partly determined by logistical factors: system capacity, conflicts with academic activities, availability of support staff, etc. An enrollment request involves many live transactions with the data systems. It is important that the load on the system be “comfortable” – that is, that the system is able to make these transactions without delays that cause processes to be interrupted.
Once we’ve determined how many students should be in each registration group, then we need to determine the best way to assign students to groups. The current system enrolls by class standing, then by last name using a rotating alphabetic scheme of four groups. If we used this same scheme, with a week devoted to Priority Registration, then we might have seniors registering on Monday, juniors on Tuesday, Sophomores on Wednesday and First-Years on Thursday, with the four alphabetic groups running at half hour intervals at 6:00 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 7:00 a.m., and 7:30 a.m. A junior whose last name is in the E-K group might have a 7:30 a.m. Tuesday registration time, while a sophomore whose last name is in the L-P group might have 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, depending on how the alphabetic rotation is running that semester.
There is wide variation among universities that use a direct enrollment system on how these registration times are assigned. Some don’t use class standing, some assign by a random lottery, some use an alphabetic rotation, some just open the system and let everyone at it.
Standard enrollment for students: Students begin reviewing the Schedule of Classes, select courses to review in detail, and add courses to their Course Watch. When they’ve formulated an initial plan for the semester, they make an appointment with their academic advisor. Together they review the registration profile, advising transcript, and courses added to the Course Watch so far. Once the advisor is convinced the student is on-track and understands how to complete his/her enrollment, the advisor issues the Advising Meeting Confirmation. Students continue to refine their Course Watch selections and review their Registration Profile to make sure their status is set to Ready to Register. When their Priority Registration Time comes, they log into e-services, go to their Course Watch, and begin selecting courses for enrollment. They may be enrolled for a maximum of 3.0 course credits during the Priority Registration phase but they can drop courses and add others throughout this phase. When Open Registration begins, they complete their schedule, again working from the Course Watch.
Enrollment for students who do not satisfy eligibility criteria: The Course Detail window states all eligibility criteria for a course. Typically, when students do not satisfy these they should look for another course. However, if they feel that the eligibility criteria should not apply in their case, they may seek an Eligibility Code from the course instructor or the chair of the department. When the Eligibility Code is entered in the Course Watch Confirmation, the eligibility status on the Course Watch will be set to true. If the eligibility conflict is based on class standing (e.g., the student has a registration standing as a junior but really should be considered a senior), they should request a registration standing exception from the Registrar’s Office which will then issue the Eligibility Code.
Enrollment for students who do not meet priority criteria: In most cases, students who meet eligibility but not priority criteria should just wait for Open Registration to enroll in the course. However, if the student has a pressing need for the course-- for example, if he/she has a registration standing of junior but needs a course required for the major that is prioritized for sophomores and first-years—then he/she could seek out an Eligibility Code from the course instructor or department chair.
Enrollment for students who are off-campus: Since all of these processes are available on-line (including the advising meeting), there is no difference in the procedure. Students need to remember that their Priority Registration Time will be Eastern Standard or Eastern Daylight, depending on which Indiana is in at the time.
Setting eligibility criteria (department chairs): Eligibility criteria are “must” conditions for enrollment. They apply in all phases of registration. Many, including prerequisites, are defined in the course catalog. Others are added when developing the schedule of classes. Often, these added eligibility criteria will make explicit what is implicit in the course description or prerequisites. For instance, a department chair may add an eligibility criteria “must be senior major” to a senior seminar if he/she feels that junior majors or non-majors may attempt to enroll in the course. Another case where an eligibility criteria might be added is for a course that is reserved for a certain group of students (e.g., first-year students, Honor Scholar, CLA or SOM students). Eligibility criteria can be phrased as either inclusions or exclusions. “Must be FY, SO or JR” is the same as “No SR.” The “or permission of instructor” phrase that appears in many prerequisite descriptions is handled through the Eligibility Code process described above.
Setting priority criteria (department chairs): Unlike eligibility criteria, priority criteria apply only during Priority Registration. Thus, a course that has a priority for “sophomores needs W” would only allow students who matched that priority to enroll during Priority Registration but would allow any student who meets eligibility criteria to enroll during Open Registration.
Setting complex priorities (department chairs): Our current course request system, which makes multiple passes through the course requests during course enrollment, allows for staged or sequenced priorities. For instance, chairs may give a “1=SR, JR major” priority to a course, followed by a “2=SR” priority. During its early passes through the course request, the current system would attempt to put only senior and junior majors into the course; during later passes it would attempt to enroll senior non-majors. This type of priority might be useful for a high demand course that is required for a major and for a graduate or professional program that non-majors will be applying to (e.g., Developmental Psychology).
The proposed system does not have multiple priority phases. Priorities can be associated by AND or OR operators but the only sequencing possible follows whatever order is set for priority registration times. In the above example, the department chair could set the priority to “SR/JR major OR SR.” If the priority times follow class standing, then senior non-majors would be equivalent to senior majors and would register for the course ahead of junior majors.
Setting limits (department chairs): As with the current system, we will continue to allow department chairs to save space in courses for incoming students by having a dual limit—one that applies during the on-campus registration cycle and the other that comes into effect when we register first-year students in the summer. If it is useful, a third limit could be added so that the first limit would be in effect during Priority Registration, the second during Open Registration, and the third when first-year students are enrolled.
Comments and Suggestions
Please send comments and suggestions to Ken Kirkpatrick, Registar, at firstname.lastname@example.org.