18. Science & School
text Malini Witlox illustration Bas van der Schot
Sorry, your course is full Compulsory bachelor courses you can’t take because they’re full. Optional master courses which are ‘sold out’. Tilburg University students regularly have to deal with such matters.
he annual course registration: it’s a rat race. Hundreds of students simultaneously take place behind their computers, trying to register via COMAP in a bid to, for example, take statistics. But unfortunately, your computer is a bit slow and – within minutes – the course full. The only other option: to try again next year. Student party SAM wants this problem solved and wrote a memo about it, which they presented to the Executive Board.
Party member Renée van der Ploeg: “Working groups of compulsory courses are often offered with too few places. That shouldn’t be happening. You should simply be able to take a compulsory course. I don’t know how many students are exactly left out by this. It does go on at several programs and it’s certainly the case for the skills courses the students at the Tilburg Law School are required to take.” Stimulus, the student party in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Faculty Council, often receives complaints from bachelor students who have trouble registering for statistics courses. Problems have also arisen at Psychology courses Group Skills and Communication Skills. Stimulus party member Sara van Erp: “Some groups are full within minutes. When a course at certain time is already full, it may be possible to register for one at a later hour. But then, you might not make it to other working groups. Students are forced to draw up four different schedules beforehand. For once you are registering, you won’t have any time to plan it all out. But that’s not the only issue here. The way information is provided should also be improved. Students are sometimes unaware of the time registration starts. In the meantime, their course is completely full.” As to the skills courses, the Tilburg Law School has declared that the issues brought forward by SAM are in the past. The skills courses have recently been integrated in other courses and are no longer taken separately, so the students won’t need to register separately for them either. This means that these skills courses cannot be full anymore. TLS is still striving for improvement of this new approach, especially the supervision of skills the students acquire in each course. Students should always
Univers 10 mei 2012
receive well-founded feedback on papers and other assignments in order to improve their skills”, states Tilburg Law School student adviser Koen de Geus. Master students also sometimes experience setbacks when registering for courses. In their case, problems arise with optional courses. Renée van der Ploeg: “That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll delay your graduation, because you can always opt for another course. However, students do often purposely choose a program because of certain optional courses.” SAM chairwoman Lotte Haens: “A student is required to, for example, choose two courses each term of their master program. They can choose from four courses. We understand that the university doesn’t expect all students to choose exactly the same optional courses. But in theory, that could be the case. Problems have also come about at the course Purchasing Management. This course is compulsory for students taking the master program Supply Chain Management and is optional for students taking Marketing Management. But for the latter group, only a limited number of places remains available. Some students would like, but are not able to take the course.”
Disclaimer The student party would like the university to state clearly on its website and in information booklets on master programs that the possibility exists that some courses are not available. Lotte Haens: “At the moment that is not the case, but we do feel such a disclaimer is necessary. Either that, or the university will have to guarantee that everyone can take the exact courses they wish to take. In that case, lecturers and lecture-rooms will have to be made available in time.” Renée van der Ploeg: “At the start of the college year, the university should also find out which optional courses the students would like to take. This would allow the planners to take this into account for the second term.” The Executive Board has three months to respond to the memo. Rector Philip Eijlander has said to Univers: “We are looking into how widespread this problem is and the causes of limited availability of certain courses. We will subsequently respond to the memo.”
Univers Magazine, 10 mei 2012. www.universonline.nl Uitgeverij: Tilburg University. Auteur: Malini Witlox