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Miami students and academic advisors prepare for spring scheduling amidst pandemic

On Wednesday, Oct. 21, Sophia Blatnik and other sophomore architecture majors met virtually with Gretchen Radler, the assistant dean and divisional advisor of the College of Creative Arts, to discuss scheduling for the spring semester. 

At the time, Radler explained that the course list was going to be released at 5 p.m. the next day.

The next morning, Blatnik received an email. The course list would not be released until Monday, Oct. 26, three days before she was set to schedule.

Amidst a global pandemic, it goes without saying that scheduling at Miami looks different this year. With the course list schedule released Oct. 26 and early priority registration set to begin Oct. 28, though, students now have even less time to plan their spring semesters.

For students like Blatnik, there won’t be much time to look over what courses they’re interested in before meeting with their advisors.

“Last fall, we were given the course list … at least a week before if not two weeks before scheduling,” Blatnik said. “So we were able to look through the courses and then schedule an appointment with the advisor. Since I’m in honors, I scheduled [in] one of the first [time slots], but I still had a good [week] to meet with my advisor before scheduling.”

Despite this, Christa Branson, a senior academic advisor in the College of Arts and Science, said her department has been busy meeting with students even without an official course list.

“We can still provide, and I think we do provide, quality advising even without the course list,” Branson said. “The course list is not necessarily a requirement for advising. You know, we can still talk about the types of requirements that need to be met and how to search for courses and whatnot. Students can begin building their plans even before the course list is finalized.”

When students registered for this semester, there was no guarantee that it would be safe to return to campus by August. Once the university officially decided to bring students back in September, professors were given the freedom to decide which mode of delivery best suited their safety and instructional needs. 

This time around, students will be able to filter courses by delivery type to better suit their preferred learning environment. Options include face-to-face, online synchronous or asynchronous and hybrid synchronous or asynchronous.

Blatnik said she would prefer face-to-face instruction but doesn’t feel she has much control even with the new filter.

“I think [the delivery mode] is a good thing to look at, but ultimately, I don’t feel like it’s my decision,” Blatnik said. “If I want to take the class, I’ll take the class. Obviously I’m hoping the more in-person the better, but that’s not really something that I can control.”

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It’s unclear whether more professors will be comfortable teaching in-person next semester or if they will have the option to change the mode of delivery even after the course list is officially released. For the time being, Branson said the new filter will allow students to take into account their preferences when scheduling.

“The feedback has been mixed,” Branson said. “Some students love the online format, some students hate the online format. So, you know, I think it just very much depends on the students and what their learning preferences are.”

Early priority registration begins Oct. 28, with regular priority beginning the next day. Seniors are currently scheduled to register Nov. 3-4, juniors Nov. 5-6, sophomores Nov. 10-11 and freshmen Nov. 12-13.

scottsr2@miamioh.edu 




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