Course registration for the spring 2021 semester began on Thursday, Oct. 29 for Veterans, Athletes and Honors students. It has since opened for all current seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen.
However, as with the fall 2020 semester, the delivery method of courses in the spring will be different than normal to accommodate for the COVID-19 pandemic. Courses will continue to be offered remotely, on ground and through a “hyflex” model, but students can choose remote courses via the regular course registration portal on PointWeb.
“Instead of telling the Registrar’s Office which courses you wish to take remotely, you will be able to choose the courses you wish to take remotely yourself,” the office of the registrar wrote in an email to students. “You can tell which courses are remote by looking at the section code. If the code ends in RL it is a remote section. So ENGL 101 OARL would be a remote section. ENGL 101 DA would be an on ground section.”
In an email from university President Paul Hennigan’s office, it was also announced that at the recommendation of the faculty, the pass/no credit option would also be available to students in the spring, just as it was in the fall.
According to university Provost John Pearson, the faculty’s input was extremely important in making this decision, and a survey of the faculty was conducted regarding the issue the day before Hennigan’s announcement was made.
“We are doing a survey of the faculty, because I promised the faculty that they would have input on that,” Pearson said in an interview on Thursday, Oct. 22. “And we have our student government leaders, so we have that input. And once I have the input from the faculty, we will make our final decision.”
Pearson also discussed what course offerings for the spring 2021 semester would look like.
“Well, we have fewer students on campus or fewer students attending Point Park this year, so we should have fewer courses,” Pearson said. “It’s just a matter of matching up the offerings with the demand for courses. We are doing our best, because of the pandemic we are going through a difficult time. We are doing our best to offer the best courses in the most effective and efficient way possible. So I think you will see about, I expect the same number of courses as you have this fall.”
Kate Griffith, a junior cinema major and student in the Honors Program, signed up for courses on day one.
“It was really confusing, because when I was scheduling for my classes, a lot of them were at the same time,” Griffith said.
Griffith explained that she ultimately had to choose between taking a class that is not offered every semester and a class that was required for her to graduate. Griffith will also be in production for her P3 film next semester.
“All of my gen eds will be online, even though I’ll be on campus next semester,” Griffith said. “It was the only way to feasibly achieve my degree.”
Griffith is also a student worker in the Honors Office and has been fielding questions about course registration from honors students.
“I get questions like ‘how do I schedule’ and ‘who do I contact for help and guidance,’ and I always say to contact your CSS [Center for Student Success] advisor,” Griffith said. “What it comes down to are what types of classes are being offered, whether that is in person or remote.”
For some students though, the course registration system has changed, as the university is testing a new way for students to sign up for courses using their provided program sequence.
Emily Barkhimer, a sophomore sports, arts and entertainment management (SAEM) major, was one of the students selected to try out this system for the spring 2021 semester.
“The new system wasn’t that hard to use,” Barkhimer said. “In fact, I think it was an easier system to use than the old way. However, this system is based on your program sequence for your major. It only lists courses that it thinks you should take based on where you’re at in the sequence. If you’re like me, as in someone who changed majors throughout their college career, then you’re automatically off sequence.”
Barkhimer explained that for students using the new system who need or want to take courses that do not follow their specific program sequence, they would need to reach out to their academic advisor for approval. Barkhimer also stated that she met with her advisor virtually, which was helpful in figuring out how the new system worked.
“Ultimately, I think it just makes extra work for everyone involved,” Barkhimer said.