Beginning in January, the New College course registration process will go paperless, as all students will be registering for classes electronically by submitting their contracts online.
The Office of the Registrar launched the pilot program of the Electronic Contract System this fall. Registrar Brian Scholten says the eContracts system will allow 24-hour accessibility, convenience, improved efficiency, eliminate paperwork and increase the environmental sustainability of the registration process.
Seven faculty members and 93 of their student advisees participated in the successful pilot program. Continuing degree-seeking undergraduate students will use the system beginning Jan. 15, 2019, to create and submit their spring semester contracts. Faculty sponsors will approve them online.
The process ran smoothly, according to a recent article in New College student newspaper, The Catalyst.
“The good thing is that this system really puts students in the driver’s seat,” Professor of English and Gender Studies Miriam Wallace told the paper. “Students initiate everything and do the bulk of the work filling out their academic plan. In some ways, that fits with New College’s founding principle that students are fundamentally responsible for their own education in negotiation with faculty who guide them.”
The online system will not eliminate the need for face-to-face meeting between students and their academic advisors.
“The nice thing about electronic contracts is that there is actually more time,” Scholten said, explaining that professors could work to approve contracts over the weekend, rather than requiring paper contracts to be turned into the Registrar’s Office by Friday at 5 p.m. “In some ways, there is flexibility that can be built into it,” Scholten added. “We are not constrained by when the office closes.”
Scholten says instructions and demonstrations of the eContracts system will be available soon.
Additional improvements to the eContracts system are planned for the Fall 2019 semester, including:
- The addition of an electronic Independent Study Project (ISP) module. This new addition will make the entire fall and spring registration process paperless.
- Programming to accommodate students participating in off-campus study.
- Modify the eContracts tutorial module to allow for more than one objective or outcome to be selected.