February 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 42°F


Park implements online course request system

The Roy H. Park School of Communications is piloting the new online course registration override form, which is being beta-tested for the ongoing Fall 2013 registration. With this form, all override requests for courses in the Park School will be done online.

 The initiative is a joint effort from the Office of the Provost, Information Technology Services and the Park School of Communications. It is part of the college’s Homer Workflow Implementation Group project, which aims to put about 40 of the most heavily used forms online.

Bryan Roberts, assistant dean for student services at the Park School, said feedback has been positive so far.

“We could tell that it was a frustrating time, especially in Park, with the old course request form,” he said. “Students have really been giving me positive feedback, both in person and through Twitter, about what a step forward this is.”

The form is available on the Park School website and requires a Netpass username and password. The link is only available once the time ticket for registration commences. If the request is approved, students will receive an email, and they will be able to register for the class.

The online override request form will be available to students in other schools for Spring 2014 registration, depending on feedback from registration for next semester.

Roberts said the college decided to begin using the system with the Park School for two reasons.

“The Park School has a history of innovation and becoming early adopters of new areas of technology,” he said. “The second reason was more than any other school, we are heavy users of the old generation of the course request form.”

Bill Liddick, associate director for enterprise solution development at the college, said he believes that this new online request form will appeal to students from every school.

“The culture of the course request form is set to change, and I believe many students will find this an appealing trait,” he said. “This paperless request form will also help the professors get the requests forms back to the students more quickly.”

At a session for Park School students April 5, Roberts demonstrated how to fill out and submit a course override form online, and a tutorial was sent out to all Park students who were unable to attend the meeting.

Many students who attended the event questioned the simplicity of the form. However, most seemed to prefer the online method to that of the current paper option.

Freshman Emily Morley is an exploratory student who will be transferring into the Park School. Morley, who has used the online form to register for Park School classes, said the online system was more efficient than the paper-based one.  

“A lot of the times when you are trying to override into classes, it’s a lot of confusion with the paperwork,” Morley said. “All you have to do [now] is go to this one spot and fill out a form.”

Liddick also said the goal for the online request form will also help the college save paper.

Before the online request form, there were several paper-based forms that students had to fill out to request course registration.

“There are over thirty different forms that students may possibly have to fill out just to register for classes,” Liddick said. “We are slowly attempting to take away student frustration as well as lessen the amount of paper that is wasted.”

Ithaca College has a Comprehensive Environmental Policy that lays out steps for the Efficient Use and Conservation of Energy, Water and Other Resources. Marian Brown, special assistant of campus and community sustainability, is a part of this plan.

Brown said she believes that this online document processing will save time and money by eliminating the costs to print the forms. She said it will also improve the efficiency of the document-processing step.

 “Transitioning to online forms reduces the need for harvesting additional trees for paper pulp and significant water saving from paper production, so there is an environmental benefit,” she said.

However, Brown said, while there are environmental costs to provide the electricity for computers to run the servers, the environmental benefits of reduced paper use would outweigh the costs.

“Having simple, relatively low-value activities like course registration done more quickly and efficiently benefits students by freeing their time to do more important things, like study,” Brown said.

Looking toward the future, Roberts said he expects everyone will benefit from the new online system.

“It is hard for all schools to agree on something and have it be a win-win for everyone,” Roberts said. “But it seems as though this might work in everyone’s favor.”

Assistant News Editor Noreyana Fernando contributed reporting to this article.