UI to implement online add/drop process


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The University of Iowa will begin offering an online option for dropping and adding classes during the first five days of classes starting spring semester.

“We’re trying to react to the desire of the students,” said Thomas Kruckeberg, a UI senior associate registrar.

He noted such issues as students having to come to office hours and not freeing up space in classes quickly enough as concerns with the current system of adding and dropping classes.

The UI uses a paper system for students to add and drop courses. Students must have a signature from their course professor and academic adviser. With the new system, students can drop or add a course in the first five days of classes without either of those requirements.

The University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University have both had online processes in place for several years. UNI allows students to drop or add courses within the first seven days of classes, and ISU allows students to drop or add courses the first five days of classes.

“[Students] love it,” said Laura Doering, the Iowa State registrar. “I hope to even expand it beyond the fifth day [drop/add deadline] one day.”

UNI also has seen positive feedback from their online system, something that has been in place for a few decades.

“It has been a long time [since the system has been in place], since the early ’90s,” said Philip Patton, the University of Northern Iowa registrar. “We use it all the time; it’s very easy for dropping restrictions or adding.”

UI Associate Provost for Undergraduates Beth Ingram said there were several reasons for the delay in adding the online system, but university officials are excited about the change.

“We were an outlier in using paper slips,” she said. “Some faculty had concern for a few reasons, but so far, we haven’t heard anything from anybody. It just makes life easier for everybody.”

Some faculty were concerned about students adding courses that they did not have prerequisites for. The Mathematics Department will place restrictions on adding and dropping classes online.

Students will be able to take a math class and drop the course, but students trying to add a math class will need a specific permission code from the department.

Another restriction with the online system is only allowing undergraduate students to use it, in addition to not allowing NCAA athletes to drop/add courses online because of specialized education plans.

The drop/add change follows a change last spring scheduling finals to better individualize student’s schedules.

“The final exams were a fixed block matrix, but that didn’t necessarily do the best match for students,” Kruckeberg said. “Now, we do not schedule [finals] until the 10th day [of the school year].”

All officials hope for the trial semester to benefit students and staff.

“It’s hard to think of a reason students wouldn’t like it,” Ingram said. “It seems like a small change, but I can see students from outside my office in the first week of January waiting in line.”

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