WU course listings go paperless

| News Manager

Flipping through the course catalog is soon to be a thing of the past.

As of next semester, course listings will be exclusively available online via courses.wustl.edu and through a link on WebSTAC.

Coupled with the change is an online course listings redesign, which will be launched Oct. 1, according to the notice on WebSTAC. According to Associate University Registrar Jill Fechtman, the launch should be complete by mid-October.

“There will be an improved search capability. The display will be much cleaner; [students] will be able to search by attributes,” Fechtman said. “You can see and look and get more information about courses in a faster way.”

The move to online course listings was initiated by the Registrar’s office as part of an initiative to improve sustainability. The decision also incorporated the opinions of a variety of other groups on campus, Fechtman explained.

“The decision was made by a partnership with a number of groups we talked to about a number of ways we could improve the course listings experience on campus,” Fechtman said. “We wanted to make a greater commitment to sustainability.”

According to Fechtman, the number of course catalogs printed dropped over the last five years from 7,500 to about 4,800 due to reduced demand from the departments that stocked them.

The static form of the printed catalog was also identified as unsuitable for the dynamic nature of courses at Washington University.

“The moment it’s printed, it’s out of date. It’s obsolete. Courses and what’s happening at the University is changing rapidly, daily,” Fechtman said. “Who’s teaching a course, the number of seats—that’s impossible to account for in a book.”

Many students already utilize the online version rather than the paper catalog.

“The only time I used the paper version is when I was a freshman,” junior Karuna Tirumala said.

“I’ve been fine with everything online. The website was easy to figure out,” freshman Collin Wade said.

Other students believed the listings weren’t integrated well with the registration process.

“The website was confusing at times during registration. There was a disconnect between how you’d actually register for classes and how you’d practice doing it,” freshman Teja Vallapuri said.

Sophomore Michael Schumeister appreciated the ability to find courses that he wasn’t necessarily seeking out in the catalog.

“The course book allows you to find courses you’re not necessarily looking for. You might find them interesting when you’re flipping through and take them. I think that exploration is something the University values, and without the course book, that would be lost,” Schumeister said. “It’s literally one of my favorite times of the year when the course book comes out.”

With additional reporting by Manvitha Marni.

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