Personal opinion disclaimer

1. The “shopping for classes” system deceptive. There is an implication that you can just try out a class, that you don’t have to actually choose your schedule until two weeks into the quarter. However, this mostly works in the dropping classes direction and not the adding classes direction. The two main issues seem to be that quarters are short, and professors have their own needs and deadlines to meet. In a ten week quarter, the first week is already 10% of the class, which you don’t really want to miss. So there’s a pressure to figure out quickly and decisively which classes to take. Additionally, professors and assistants want to know as soon as possible who and how many people will be taking their classes, so there’s often a pressure to register before the first class or two. This becomes problematic for students when course materials (e.g. reading) and information are only available to registered students. For instance, I am shopping a psychology course, but in order to do any of the reading for the class I had to be registered and Axess and Coursework. This could be problematic for someone shopping multiple classes if they had to sign up for all of them but couldn’t due to the unit cap. Other classes pressure students to know what they’re taking in different ways, such as deadlines to sign up for sections. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what flexibility there is, especially the ability to drop classes several weeks into the quarter. But between the electronic systems (Axess, Coursework) and the attitudes from individual instructors, the atmosphere doesn’t seem that conducive to really ‘shopping’ for classes.

2. (This is more of a gripe) I know most students want to save money and bookshelf-space, and so prefer electronic reading and materials to printed books and course readers I personally would almost without exception rather have purchasable, printed hard copies for several reasons. Most importantly, I find reading on the computer difficult and tiring. It hurts my eyes, no matter how much I tweak the brightness, fonts, resolution, refresh rate, etc. You also cannot easily take notes on most electronic reading. So the solution seems to be to print it out, but this has several issues. First, expense. In most cases printing all the reading for a class requires a considerable amount of paper and ink. If it’s going to cost me personally, I’d rather pay for a course reader and get the added bonus of things being bound together instead of loose. Second, quality. I routinely take classes where all the readings are badly scanned PDFs. The quality is so poor that printing does nothing to improve readability. Example. This drives me nuts. I tried looking up the books the readings such as this example are from at the library, and they either didn’t exist or were checked out until next year (presumably by my professor). I wish it didn’t have to be one or the other, printed or online. I’d happily let other people download or print their own readings if I could buy the book for myself. But I know that doesn’t work because professors cannot reliably inform the bookstore how many of anything to have in stock, and I know my preference for print is generally in the minority. So that’s my gripe for the evening, now I’m back to tackling those downloaded PDF readings…

Comments 2

  1. faerieloch wrote:

    Try asking your professor for the original to copy. They should be pretty accommodating, as per the honour code and disability laws. I don’t think they can refuse to give you better copies if you ask for them, unless the original is in a library far, far away. It’s worth asking.

    Posted 28 Sep 2005 at 01:11
  2. thefire8472 wrote:

    I’m with you. The other thing is that online course material is almost universally lower quality than printed material. It gets less proof reading because it’s assumed that it can be corrected at a later date. Problem is that it never does get said correction and just ends up being unreadable, random, or jumpy.

    Posted 06 Oct 2005 at 20:10

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