Big changes start winter quarter, or so says the hand out currently being distributed around campus. In short, the time frame to enroll in classes is being shortened, blue cards will be a thing of the past, the period of time for instructor permission enrollment is being shortened and teachers will soon have the ability to drop students for not attending the two class sessions of the quarter. “It’s not just to create rules,” said Matt Groshong, interim registrar, “it’s to encourage students to be in class the first day and ready to learn.”
Under the new procedure, the last opportunity for a student to register for a class will by the day before the beginning of any given quarter. If a student is waitlisted, they will no longer be automatically added to the course after this point in time. Blue cards will no longer exist though instructors can still grant entry into their classes, the blue card will simply be replaced with a comparable form that students are to fill out and bring to their instructor. Instructor permission entry will now be an option for days one through five as compared to the current procedure of day four through 10. Additionally, teachers will be able to drop students in the event that they do not attend to first two class sessions, or in the case of online and hybrid classes, if they do not log on in the first two days of the quarter.
According to Groshong, the automatic waitlist entry posed issues for students who had forgotten that they signed up, particularly for those who do not check their campus email account. This would result in students being admitted to classes without their knowing. For students who pay out of pocket, they are likely to be dropped for not paying. If you stay in the course at that point, the student will receive an F, lose the money, and in some cases jeopardize their funding. The ‘attend or get dropped’ procedure was implemented with similar interest in mind, intending to be a service to the majority of students who do attend the first few days of class. “Most of the time [are] a student who doesn’t understand that they are in the class,” explained Groshong. The instructor initiated drop would occur within the 100 percent refund period which would prevent the issues stated above from occurring.
Blue cards are to be replaced in the interest of allowing students to take a more active role in the late registration process. The new form can be filled out by students and taken to their teacher on day one of the quarter. Currently, according to Steve Downing, director of enrollment and registar services, students are being turned away because there is no way to grant them access until four days into the quarter. This is even more damaging for students taking hybrid or online classes because they then will not have access to any online material until four days into the quarter. Instructors are to grant entry into their courses based off of the order students appear on the waitlist though should any given student not attend the class, they forgo their spot in line.
The late enrollment period was shortened from 10 to four days in order to both prevent teachers from delaying the admittance process and to make sure that students aren’t entering a course well into the quarter. Downing sees allowing students to enroll 10 days in as a disservice to students in that the college is implicitly communicating that is acceptable to start a class at the end of the second week of a quarter. Groshong cites that faculty and research has shown that students who up on the first day, ready for class, are most successful than those who start late.
Student focus groups were conducted, yielding that the college was not doing a good enough job communicating with students. A committee in student services has been tasked with brainstorming different ideas as to how to inform students of the coming changes through means such as posters, social media, faculty and emails. “Our goal with this is to do the biggest marketing PR campaign we’ve ever done,” said Downing. Both Downing and Groshong point out that this policy is a clear indicator of the college picking student success over having as many students as possible.
More information is available on the registration page of the Bellevue College website.