Shouldn't college students be expected to be computer literate? (registration rant)

I have always, since the start of my college career, registered online whenever possible. I don’t have the time to wait in line to speak to an adviser, nor do I particularly care to go to campus when I can accomplish the exact same thing from my home computer.

So a month ago, I start looking into classes for the upcoming semester. I’m a history major, so there are 2 required classes I must take in my senior year- Theory of History and a Pro-Seminar, whose topics change each semester. I see that there is a Pro-Seminar on the Holocaust. Well, call me crazy, but that’s interesting. Much more so than Environmental History. Now, the seminars are limited to history majors and you need the instructor’s permission to register. I email the teacher, who informs me that a student has registered improperly, so the class appears to be open, but is in fact full.

I register for 2 other classes instead. Fast forward to a few days ago. I had registered for 2 classes at my home campus a few blocks away, and 2 others on a different campus which requires a 45 minute commute, because I had made plans to carpool. Those plans fell through, and I can’t justify the gas to drive to the other campus. So I have to register for 2 different classes a week before the semester starts. So, I see that there is another seminar on a topic that isn’t as horribly boring to me as Environmental History- 19th Century U.S. Social Movements. OK, same drill- email instructor requesting permission. This shouldn’t be hard, the online class search shows 4 open seats in this class.

No, the professor informs me, the class is in fact full to capacity, even though it shows several open seats; perhaps I should contact an adviser to see which seminars have open seats.

Fuck no I won’t! I’m not waiting for an hour to speak to someone only to be told, yes, there are 2 dozen seats in Environmental History available. You know why that class is still open? Because only dirty tree-huggers* want to take that class. I’m a medieval European history major, I like death, destruction, plagues and crusades. Not joining hands around a fire and singing Kumbaya.

And what about these improperly registered students who are still going to be taking these classes? Why should they get to take seats from other students who have, in fact, mastered the use of the keyboard and mouse and don’t need their hands held through the registration process?

So I get to take American History I. Let’s see if the incoming freshman are any smarter than the seniors and grad students too stupid to register properly for their classes.

  • :wink: I have myself been accused of being a dirty tree-hugger, because I recycle and like to conserve gas.

You’re gonna love the last 100 years of History of the Environment!

Nowadays, I’d say it’s just about a requirement to be able to use the computer and have basic internet skills, especially if you’re a young adult. The age of computers is ALREADY HERE, people! grumble

My mum’s been handing me mounds of old, moth-eaten college applications from all sorts of universities (handed graciously down from older siblings), against the day that I start applying for US colleges in North Carolina, among other varied places.

Doesn’t everyone use the internet for applications and registrations, now? It’s just so much easier and faster. Why WOULDN’T you want to know? :confused:

Son of a bitch!!! My French literature class was canceled 5 minutes ago. It was there earlier, now it’s been canceled by the university. Fuckity fuck fuck! :mad: It’s even harder to find intermediate French classes, if you can believe that. Not a popular language here.

Well when I registered initially it was in person and with a form… but that was because I didn’t have enough to piss in a pot and if you registered during their open house the fee was waived.

Since then, I just go online and register. So much easier and there is NO way I have time to stand in line when I can be working (taking night classes currently).

You’d be surprised at how computer illiterate the current crop can be. I went full time for a couple years and the first week consisted of a computer class teaching the basics. No regular classes at all, just come in and go to a computer class. (I spent a lot of time surfing the web that week). Then the regular computer class was a lot of stuff I consider basic but I could see how you might not know everything. I could’ve just done the final project but I went anyway… again, lots of surfing the web but I learned a couple little things.

Remind me again, why is registering in person/by paper “improper”? Maybe you should complain that the online process isn’t capable of keeping current with all registrations. :slight_smile:

No, if they had registered in person with an adviser, the class would show that there are no seats available. These students must have gotten a permit to register from the professor, but then failed to register correctly or changed their mind and dropped the class. In fact, since I wrote this rant, the number of available seats in the class I wanted has doubled, but according to the professor it is full.

Can’t you just register for the waitlist, and show up the first day? You probably don’t want to sign up for all your classes that way, only to find that you can’t get it, but there are usually people who never show up but never bothered to drop the class officially.

And yes, being a French major/minor is depressing. Ten people in a class was considered large.

I still need a permit from the instructor to be able to register in any way, and they are insisting the classes are full. One was nice enough to offer to let me know if anyone’s dropped, but of course then I’ll have to rearrange my schedule if people do. Trying to work out a schedule with a history major/French minor is the most infuriating experience ever.

Just wait until you try to find a job! :smiley:
I’m joking, just couldn’t resist a straight line like that

I’d love to register online, but basically all graduate classes require some sort of signature (even just research credits.) So instead I get to fill out the little sheets of paper, track down my adviser (or the professor teaching the class or the department head), get him to sign the paper, then walk all the way to the other end of campus to turn the little sheet in.

Well, DUH! Spanish is a much more useful language here. :stuck_out_tongue: :wink: :smiley:

:smiley: I know, I know. I really don’t like working with people, so I’m hoping I can do research and write books for the rest of my life. Now, if that will actually work out or not, we’ll see.

The more I think about it, the more confused I am about these supposedly open classes that are full. The first professor said, “There is a graduate student who registered improperly, that is why the class looks like it’s still open.”

WTF? Grad students can’t register for classes correctly?

Now the other class, I don’t know. Like I said, there are now more open seats showing up than there were before, so it looks like people have dropped. It makes me wonder. Does the professor say, there’s x number of seats available, so I’ll only give out x permits? Because I’d rather they hand out permits to anyone interested, and let whoever can register first do it. When you’ve got people screwing up their registration or dropping the class without informing the instructor, then you’ll end up with a class that’s only half full.

Makes me wonder if I should register for my spring semester classes now.

Why does the instructor not believe the online registration information? Does he believe that every permit results in a registration every time? That no one ever registers and then drops? Can’t you have him call the registrar?

My university does only online registration. Even for the classes that require approval, the instructor gives you a code that lets you register online. Incapable of online registration? No classes for you! This is college, people.

I did secretly laugh at a freshman I met last year. He didn’t go to summer orientation and apparently neglected to read the registration guide. He signed up for interesting sounding classes - all graduate courses. The registrar had to drop him from everything, luckily the university didn’t kick him out of the dorms and made an agreement that he could stay and live there but had to take classes next quarter. So he stayed living in the dorms for a quarter with no classes to take and nothing to do. I thought that surely the class titles would be some clue that this wasn’t and intro course, but I guess not.

I am really suprised there are so many professors both able and willing to keep track, manually, of so many students’ enrollment status etc.

Anyway, I don’t see why a professor would not sign whatever he needs to sign in order for you to get onto the waitlist. How is it relevant that the class is full? That’s exactly what the waitlist is for–for when the class is full.


On my campus, the waitlist is generated automatically. We profs have nothing to do with it. I checked online to see what the status of my classes is. One is nearly full and the other is already full. I can add up to capacity (30, as these are Freshman Comp. classes) and that’s it. Of course, if people enrolled don’t show up, that will free up more spaces for those on the waitlist. In the unlikely event that a whole lot of enrolled people don’t show up, I can add everyone on the waitlist and then go by registration date priority for others who come along, but they would also have to provide eligibility proof before I can add them.

Man, you go to USF, right? Go to the Tampa campus, stop fucking with this USFSP crap. They cancel stuff ALL THE TIME with absolutely no warning. It’s worth the drive to just get your stuff done in a reasonable time, hell, I’ll even carpool with you.

I work at a technical college, (admittedly a different beast than a university but related). I have to disagree with the OP. It is not reasonable to expect all college applicants to be computer literate. In today’s economic environment a great many college entrants are displaced workers who have spent the last twenty years working in industries which sent thier jobs overseas. In this area Advance Transformer moving operations to Mexico and Ray-O-Vac moving operations to China are just two examples. These workers are not stupid, but are computer illiterate. Most have a high school education from back in the seventies. (The IBM PC was available in '81). In many cases the main reason some of these students are enrolling is to learn computer skills so they can become employable again. Some of these people have never touched a computer. This is an economically depressed area, many households do not have a computer. Is education supposed to be available only to those recent graduates of high school? Is the opportunity to better one’s employability to be limited to the young? Those who grew up with computers? I would hope not. The OP did not say but implied that if you are not computer literate you are too stupid for higher education.

That said, I believe the OP has a legitimate complaint, but chose the wrong target. The fault for this dysfunctional system lies with the university for not having adequate error trapping and correction procedures in place to deal with improper registration and ‘Ghost students’. It is to the advantage of the institution to eliminate ghost students, as they become non-paying seats. One of the ways to increase operating revenue without raising tuition is fill those seats with paying students. Our institution is doing a limited roll out of online registration, and we too have run into some glitches. Things on the registration portal which were not as intuitive as they need to be, not enough safe guards to prevent a student from registering for classes which they did not have the prerequisite etc. Ownership of these problems belongs to us, and it is our duty to address them.
For sure some applicants are not ready for prime time. That is the reason for admission testing. Our focus in testing is not to rule out admission, but to identify areas in which an applicant needs remedial help to have a decent chance of completing their chosen program. We encourage and provide that remedial help. To simply lock these people out because of poor or no computer skills is self defeating.

To assume all students are computer literate is some what elitist.


Well, I was just ranting. I was just shocked by the one prof who mentioned the improperly registered grad students. If you’ve been in college for 4 or more years, yes, I’d expect you to be computer literate. The other part of the rant is directed at the policies of the university and the professors too dense to understand that drops are normal, put me on the waitlist or something, please.

Anyway, finally got my schedule sorted out, although I will be driving to Tampa twice a week (ladyfoxfyre, I’ve never had the St. Pete campus cancel a class, ever. And I love the St. Pete campus. I hate everything about Tampa’s campus, the parking, the students, everything. It’s not just the drive). Luckily I contacted one of my favorite professors, back this semester after a brief sabbatical, and arranged a one-on-one directed reading class this semester with him. And to make it even easier, since I’m taking another one of his classes, he’s just going to double my assignments for that class so it will count for 2 classes. Does that make sense? Either way, it’s a really great solution at the last minute. I’ve been waiting for him to return so I can arrange a directed reading with him anyway.