News | Academics

Rocky start for Barnard's new course registration tool

When Regina Coyle, BC ’17, went to her first Introduction to Statistical Reasoning class, she planned to get there early, making it to the seventh floor of Hamilton Hall 10 minutes before class was due to start.

Only a few minutes after class began—and after realizing that other students in the class weren’t there for math—did Coyle discover that the class location she saw listed on Student Planning, Barnard’s new registration tool, was wrong.

“Myself and probably four or five other people jump up and run out of the classroom,” she said. “I had to throw my computer open and check the CU directory of classes, and it had a totally different location: the eighth floor of Mudd.”

Though Barnard’s new registration system, Student Planning, has provided students and advisers with a tool to improve major audits and schedule planning experiences, its first semester in use has not been without problems.

In an email sent to students from the Registrar’s Office last Tuesday, the discrepancies in class locations were attributed to a lack of communication between Columbia and Barnard.

“If Columbia changes a meeting room, they do not always tell Barnard. But the Directory of Classes is accurate for both Barnard and Columbia,” the email read.

Dean of the College Avis Hinkson, BC ’84, said in an interview with Spectator on Friday that many of the issues were caused by the lag between the Columbia and Barnard course registration systems when information is updated.

“There are certain things that are live in a system that you make a change and you can automatically see the change, and there are other things that have a 24-hour upload, and so you don't see it on the screen until the next day,” Hinkson said.

Aside from incorrect class locations, Student Planning has also posed a problem for students attempting to finalize their class schedules.

Former Committee on Instruction representative Sara Mael, BC ’19, said that the system didn’t carry over her lab section to this fall, even though she had preregistered for it in the spring.

“I went on [over the summer], and all of my classes were there, and I came back at the beginning of the year, and the lab was gone,” Mael said. “I was pissed because my registration period wasn’t for another two weeks.”

SGA Representative for Academic Affairs Hannah Brody, BC ’17, said that Student Planning still has room for improvement, but that some of the problems stem from new features in the system designed to make it easier for students to plan their schedules.

“I think that this new system is trying to be so much more comprehensive, but it isn’t fully updated yet, so students think they’re able or should be able to rely on myBarnard, but they’re not yet,” Brody said.

Hinkson said that for continued issues with the program, students should reach out to the Registrar’s office, the Dean of Studies office, or directly to her.

“It's really a significant undertaking, and so we are, as I say, excited that it is up and functioning, and we are working hard to address new aspects of the system that we haven't used in the past and making sure that it provides the functionality that is needed by all of our students, faculty, and staff,” Hinkson said.

J. Clara Chan contributed reporting.

ainsley.bandrowski@columbiaspectator.com | @ACBandrowski

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