SIS change good for Ex-College

For many students, the Ex-College has been one of several unique resources offered by the University left untapped.

Tufts tour leaders tout the one-of-a-kind program as an essential part of the Tufts academic experience, but how many Tufts students can now say they have taken an Ex-College course?

Until now, registration for courses offered by the Ex-College was relatively archaic compared to the seamless, online registration process for more mainstream university courses on Student Information System (SIS).

Students interested in the eclectic offerings of the Ex-College previously had to register on Webcenter after they had already registered on SIS.

Online registration via Webcenter, however, did not necessarily guarantee a spot into the course; if too many students registered for a particular class, the visiting instructor would be asked to whittle his or her class down.

The Ex-College should be commended for taking the next step towards establishing a stronger presence on campus by integrating its registration process with other university courses on SIS.

A single method for registering for all courses only enhances the visibility of the Ex-College as an academic force on campus. The more accessible the registration, the more likely students will be to view Ex-College in the same light as more traditional departments.

While students may have been reminded of the late registration on Webcenter via e-mails, many had undoubtedly overlooked the course offerings.

To the Tufts student, the hodge-podge of resources available through Webcenter have never been academic in nature; registering for courses in the same way as one receives their housing lottery number demeans the integrity that the Ex-College has strived to acquire.

Director of the Experimental College Robyn Gittleman adequately noted the importance of the online shift when she claimed that students will take classes “more seriously” through the new procedure.

Registration on SIS also eliminates the inevitable fluctuation of students during the first few weeks of classes:- a relief for both the instructor and the students invested in the course.

While some may argue that the new system ignores students’ seniority, instructors will no longer be put in the awkward position of deciding which students deserve a spot in their course and which ones do not.

A cap imposed by SIS will leave this debate to the early bird who catches the worm.

The Ex-College board should now consider allowing students to register for their courses at the same time that they register for other university courses.

Despite the change, students will still have to register for Ex-College courses after they have already registered for their other courses.

This, in effect, renders Ex-College classes secondary to other departmental offerings; students neglect the Ex-College altogether after having composed a schedule replete with more “serious” university courses.

Any student who has taken a course through the Ex-College can attest to the importance of a non-traditional course in the midst of a schedule overwhelmed by requirements.

With a few simple changes, the Ex-College will be well on its way to establishing itself as the University’s less-than-hidden gem.

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