By Aidan Cox
Each semester, Ryerson students are held in limbo waiting for their class schedule.
Students have no idea how their fall timetables will look until late August. Many have expressed dissatisfaction with how late their timetables are released and the issue is currently one of the most popular topics on Soapbox, an online forum for students to submit complaints.
“Say you have a part-time job, how are you going to schedule your new availability for each fall and winter semester when you don’t know what your schedule is going to be like until it’s too late?” said Vernon Szeto, a fifth-year business management student.
Szeto posted on Soapbox in August to share his frustration. One month later, the post has more than 800 up-votes and multiple comments from students expressing the same annoyance.
“At Ryerson, through the course intention process, students have direct influence on which courses are offered,” said Charmaine Hack, Ryerson’s registrar, in an email. “Most universities do not take student preferences [into account] for course offerings. This approach is considerably less time-consuming than Ryerson’s demand-driven approach.”
Program departments also need to confirm which courses they are offering along with how many sections, then submit that information to the registrar’s office.
“We acknowledge that everybody would like schedules sooner rather than later,” John Turtle, Ryerson’s secretary of senate, said. “It’s a request often made by the faculty as well because they don’t get their schedules until relatively late in the process.”
The University of Toronto and York University don’t use course intentions. Instead, the courses for each department along with times are posted online a month or two before enrolment starts.
So while the courses available may be set in stone, students receive their timetables earlier than those at Ryerson.
“Students at U of T usually get their schedule in July,” said Chloe Lopez, a fourth-year environmental studies major at the University of Toronto.
Lopez added that their enrolment process usually starts in July, depending on which year a student is going into. Ryerson’s starts in mid-August.
The Department of Arts and Sciences at U of T posts the courses that are offered for the fall semester around April every year on its website. So even if students don’t end up with some courses they originally wanted due to aggressive enrolment competition, they can still have a good idea of what days and times they will have class months in advance.
York University’s enrolment procedure works the same way but starts in June.
“The summer and fall-winter schedule is available for students to view prior to the end of each current winter term,” said Denise Closs, assistant registrar at York.
Closs pointed out that York’s course offerings are based on enrolment history and forecasting, rather than Ryerson’s demand driven system.
This academic year, students at Ryerson were given the opportunity to do their course intentions in March 2014. Another round of course intentions was offered in May. Despite this, students had to wait all the way until the enrolment period opened in mid-August to find out what course scheduling would look like.