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Problems Surrounding SKKU’s Course System: For Better Lecture Environments

This October, Kingos might be busy studying the various subjects that theychose in August. It is not an exaggeration that Kingos’ school life and grades are highly correlated with the lectures that they choose at the beginning of the semester. Although the course system has been changing thanksto the pledges of the 49th Student Council SungKeum and the feedback from Kingos,t here are still some problems surrounding it. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) now examines problems surrounding the registration system and explores the ways to solve the problems.

Problems Surroundingt he SKKU Registration System

According to a survey of 280 SKKU students from August 23rd to25th, when the course registration was still going on, only one in four students responded that he or she is satisfied with the current course registration system. This means most students experience inconvenience under the current system.

Opening Classes without Considering the Demands of Kingos.

- Lack of Capacity of Classes

90.6% of students pointed out that the biggest problem is that there is a lack of capacity in the classes, especially that related to the core major courses. For instance, in some lectures of the department of Business Administration like Human Resource Management or International Business, the available registration number for sophomores was limited to less than 10. It is definitely a small number considering that there are about 600 students at each grade, which makes 2,400 students in total. Meanwhile, although there were about 300 sophomores including students of double majors in the College of Economics, some core major courses like Macroeconomics could accommodate only about 200students at first. Similarly, the Principles of Economics I class, which students of the College of Economics and the SKK Business School can take, could accommodate only about 300 students in total.

There was a big problem with about 80 sophomores in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering as well. Due to an error in the course registration system, they could not register for the Data Structures class which is one of the core courses for sophomores. Even though students were supposed to register for this lecture again this semester, there was more capacity for freshmen. As a result, more than half of the sophomores could not take the class. The student council of the College of Software conducted a survey to gather opinions from students in August and discussed them with the administrative office for one month. As a result, each class gained more capacity, from about 39 to 70 places.

Another example for deficient class capacity is The Analects of Confucius class. Although it is a basic liberal arts education requirement, 90% of its capacity is supposed to be filled with sophomores. Therefore, students who are in their third and fourth years have difficulty taking this course.

Because of insufficient capacity, some students even buy and sell classes anonymously on the online community called “Everytime.” This shows that classes are traded like scalper’s tickets even though all students are supposed to pay the same amount of tuition.

- A Small Number of Classes Available

Freshmen mostly choose Core Equilibrium classes in their second semester as they have already earned the credits in Basic Humanities and Social Sciences (BHSS) or Basic Science and Mathematics (BSM) required for graduation in their first semester. Most Core Equilibrium classes, however, can accommodate only 10% of freshmen among the total number. Therefore, freshmen end up taking more BHSS or BSM classes because there are not many classes they can choose from.

Meanwhile, there are not enough core classes in majors compared to the number of students. For example, during the course registration period of this semester, some sophomores majoring in Global Economics complained that there were only about six lectures that they could choose except for those that require students to take certain classes beforehand. Similarly, according to the survey conducted by the student council of College of Software, most students complained that the number of core courses in majors is severely small. They also pointed out that the given capacity for interdisciplinary course classes and of core courses in majors are not reasonable since each class in interdisciplinary courses can afford more students.

As students tend to choose classes left without interest, it is nearly impossible for them to follow the roadmaps of the majors. If students take classes only for the sake of getting credits, they might not be satisfied with their school life and eventually could become demotivated.

Lack of Prior Notice about Classes

There is not that much information about instructors and lectures. Although students can check syllabi online before registration, most syllabi are empty or do not provide enough information. This makes students feel that it is hard to select classes since they can hardly know about the new instructors or classes in advance. In particular, in the case when an instructor is supposed to be changed for inevitable reasons, like some of The Analects of Confucius classes did this semester, there is no proper prior notification. It is also a problem that students cannot know how many students in the same grade want each class in a book bag, a function of Gold Lawn Square (GLS) system where students can select classes they want beforehand. It means they have to guess the number of students who want the same class. The current system confuses students more although students need to carefully set the priority for lectures they would choose before the course registration.

Ways to Go Based on Kingos’ Opinions

Need for More Capacity Considering Characteristics of Each Major or School Year

Since it is the biggest problem that many students have complained about, the student councils and administrative offices of every college are looking for solutions. Regarding the lack of capacity, administrative offices of the College of Economics and SKK Business School said that they are planning to solve the problem so that students will not converge on specific classes. The administrative office of the College of Economics explained that the capacity highly depends on instructors’ own situations whether to accommodate more students or not. With regard to the required subject Macroeconomics which many students could not register for this semester, the relevant office admitted that the number of instructors was not enough compared to students’ demand. The office added, “We are going to work harder to solve this problem so that students can take core major courses as they want.”

The student council of the College of Software said that although it had to ask for the increase of capacity of classes only after the registration had already started this semester, from now on, it is going to take measures by communicating with the administrative office about the capacity in advance.

In general, the administrative offices should examine prior information such as the proportion of students in each school year in every course and allocate the adequate number of seats for classes. Additionally, in the book bag system, they have to specify the number of students in each school year so that students can compare it with the total capacity of classes they want and carefully choose classes accordingly.

• College of Economics: “From now on, we are going to recruit more instructors based on a strict standard so that students can take major core courses of better quality.”

• College of Software: “We will work harder on examining students’ demand for each school year before course registration starts every semester.”

• University College: “If senior students cannot take the required liberal arts classes because of less capacity, we will notify those immediately to students and ask instructors for the increase of capacity.”

The student council of the College of Software/ The student council of the College of Software cooperated with the administrative officeto gain more capacity for Kingos.

Increasing the Number of Classes Available

Many students believe in a certain stereotype whereby the quality of the classes, even in the same subject, can vary depending on instructors. Therefore, standards for calculating grades of core courses need to be consistent and unified.

To solve this problem, there should be more classes of major subjects so that students can have more options to choose classes. As a part of the solution, the student council of the Business School said that it has been communicating with the administrative office about expanding Cross Listing (CL) classes where students can register for classes of other majors, and about opening more new classes such as interdisciplinary courses. The student council of the College of Software also kept asking for increasing the number of classes and finally the administrative office opened one more Computer Engineering ExperimentⅡ: C++ class. In addition, the time of core courses and the liberal arts classes needs to be flexible so that students can set up a schedule more easily before course registration for each semester. Meanwhile, there should be more classes for BHSS or BSM in accordance with the intention of facilitating freshmen to choose their major by offering them basic knowledge of each major.

Clear Notification of Prior Information

Students have the right to get enough information about the syllabi and instructors before course registration. In particular, when there is any change in classes such as instructors or time, there should be more practical notification via text or e-mail. Thereby students can check it out more easily. For example, there were changes of instructors in several classes of The Analects of Confucius this semester after the course registration finished. Although the administrative office of University College explained that they notified this change beforehand on CYAN, a web space offering academic Q&As between the students and university, students were confused since they could not check the notice and found it too late through the syllabus on GLS system or on the online community, Everytime, only after the course registration has ended. Since information like the change of instructors is crucial to students, the administrative office might have to notify students of the change first via text or e-mail, which students can check much more often.

As every student pays tuition and therefore has the right to take the classes they want, SKKU’s course system should be more transparent and efficient. Since the course system directly affects students’ school lives, not only SKKU but also Kingos have to recognize the problems and regularly communicate with the student councils as well. If the system improves, everyone can expect a happier and more satisfactory school life.

김효진  theweeknd@skku.edu

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