Follow up: Course Crunch

Last year, thanks to the “Becoming a Student-Ready University” Initiative, some of us on the UW-Green Bay campus were able to read a few books, and discuss them. Some common themes arose from those discussions: one of them being “The Course Crunch.” Based on the interest from last year, CATL decided to host one of our “Difficult Discussions” around this theme. We then asked a few people who deal with scheduling issues to speak on a panel:

  • Sophia Sielen, Psychology + Art Student
  • Amy Van Oss, Academic Advisor
  • Kate Burns, Associate Dean of CAHSS + Associate Professor of Human Development, Psychology, and Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Jim Loebl, Chair of Business and Accounting + Associate Professor of Accounting
  • Alissa Warpinski, Front Desk Manager of the Green Bay One Stop Shop

Thanks to our panelists, we were able to have an open discussion about how “The Course Crunch” affects our students, instructors, and staff at UW-Green Bay.

In preparation for this meeting we had asked the panelists to collect and compile questions or prompts from others in their areas. Some of the questions are addressed in the video below, but if you’d like to see all of the options we could have responded to, click on the “eye” icon to preview questions from this session.

The questions were placed in a basket, and we chose to respond to ones pulled from the basket, but in an effort to be transparent we wanted to post the rest:

How can we make course scheduling easier?

When and in what modality (online/hybrid/in-person) do students want to take classes?  How can we get their input?

Would students take more Friday classes if we offered them? Why do some programs not offer courses on Fridays, and how does that impact the overall schedule of classes?

Are there other ways to maximize our available course times (more MW times? More 3 day/week class times?  4 days/week class times?)

How can students communicate when they are experiencing course crunch to better let us know?  

 How can we help instructors strike a balance between their own availability and what is pedagogically sound?

Why do some campuses use block scheduling?

Are there other scheduling strategies that are related to block scheduling, and why do campuses use these?

When campuses adopt block scheduling/guided pathways/meta-majors for their specific program how does that affect the rest of the student’s general education course scheduling?

What kinds of resources are currently available to all students while they’re choosing their classes?

Are there potential pitfalls we can make public, so all students have a guide to use if they can’t/won’t meet with their advisor?

What is the purpose for pre-requisites in the major/minor category? Should general education courses have prerequisites, such as a major declaration?

Are there other times aside from M/W or T/R from 11-2 that are underutilized in the schedule of classes?

What are some strategies we can use to help students schedule classes during their spring semester?  

Many students don’t understand that after R&R, they are responsible for scheduling their own classes.

Do you find that instructors are scheduling their office hours on the same days they’re teaching classes?

How many seats are reserved for online students, and who maintains that number in your department?

How does the way we schedule courses impact money we get from System to build new facilities?

The major issue we have every semester is the underestimation of the number of seats/sections we need in online classes. Then, we end up adding classes at the last minute. Why not have those options for student’s right up front?

The other issue we have is online classes filling up with non-online students. I know face-to-face students want online options, but online students are specifically online because they cannot take face-to-face classes. When on online class fills with students who are capable of F2F classes it is frustrating.

When students are unaware of drop deadlines, what are their options to move forward?

I felt like this Fall, I could feel the pinch with the lack of gen ed courses. I felt like Ethnic Studies hardly had any left in summer. I also felt the pinch in Fine Arts because Intro to Theatre was an option, but the other Art courses were reserved for majors for a few months.

I am always concerned about the accelerated content in the Math 99 and 101 courses. I know the seven weeks allows students to complete two classes in one semester, but are the students being successful in those math courses. Especially, our new freshman.

Here’s the recording of the virtual session: