Registration Warfare with Mouse-Shields and Finger-Swords
South Korea’s aggressive university course registration system
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Universities in South Korea operate their course registration system through a fiercely competitive method. It is employing computers, laptops, or mobile phones (limited in some schools) to log in to a school enrollment website and register for wanted courses right on a designated day and time. However, due to the limited number of students that can sign up to each course, only a few can set up their new timetable with the courses of their wishes. The reasons behind the successes of so-called ‘winners' are varied, such as fast internet, server, or computer, along with the golden time that led the deliberate mouse-clicking to success, which tend to involve luck. Due to the ramifications the Korean course enrollment system brings, university administrators are at a deadlock over what method is most appropriate for fair and practical registration.
Traditional mode of registration
Many universities of South Korea, also involving Hanyang University, operate their course registration system on a first come, first served basis. First, students get ready before the assigned registration date with their computers and the Internet server connection ready. Because PCs (personal computers) and home Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity, a system that transmits mass data wirelessly) may incur malfunction, a host of students go to South Korean PC rooms for guaranteed internet connection speed and computer quality. Then, students open up the server time clock, a virtual countdown that will guide them to click the registration button at a precise moment.
Below is an example of the course registration system of Hanyang University.
After careful consideration of what courses one should or wants to take, one would open the course registration site (http://sugang.hanyang.ac.kr) and log in. Then, subjects will be added to the ‘desired courses’ list. The list resembles the following:
2. When red box 2 is clicked on, a syllabus and additional information about the selected course will pop up.
3. Clicking red box 3 at the designated registration time would lead to the enrollment of a student to the selected course. However, the flaw of this registration system is found as follows:
If the number of the enrolled students (number in the red box) exceeds the maximum number of students acceptable (number in the blue box), it means that students have to compete for the course. Whomever clicks on the 'Register' button first will get the course safely into their timetables.
Even though all students pay the same tuition fees to receive equal opportunities to education, the courses they will end up taking depend on the millisecond the registration buttons are clicked, including the state of the computer being used and the Internet speed. In the case of a popular major, such as the Department of Business Administration, a number of students from other divisions apply for double or multiple majors to this department.
In this case, the students desiring business administration courses are increased, causing fiercer competition between students to grab desired courses as their own. Pupils whose original major is Business Administration are rendering this circumstance as terribly unfair, as they are losing their rights to rightfully receive education from their majoring department. In addition, students who lack the financial ability to afford better internet connection will have significantly lower chances of being enrolled to their desired courses. Due to these problems, numerous South Korean universities are figuring out ways to amend the system.
One of the course enrollment systems that some universities now implement is the ‘registration basket system’. Konkuk University is one that employs this system. The way it works is analogous to the traditional system, but it distributes time prudently for students. First, students will select courses that they desire and add them to the registration basket, which is akin to Hanyang University's 'desired courses tab'.
The number of students enrolled for the desired courses will not be shown until the registration date. Then, at the first registration date, the university server will automatically register students to the courses that did not have exceeding numbers of enrolled students. Those whose chosen courses had exceeding numbers will not be signed up, which means that some of them will need to decide whether they will keep the course for possible registration at a later date, or not.
After a few changes, the second registration date will come and the server will again automatically sign students up. Those who could not register even on the second go will have to compete for their desired courses in the traditional way for the third time. Even though this system is considered effective in that it gives equal opportunities for students, it is criticized by busy students. Because the system requires a maximum of three registration dates, some are bound to consider the system time-consuming.
Another system that Yonsei University implements is called the ‘Mileage and Time Ticket System’. The university bestows each student 5000 mileage points for course registration. The amount may differ depending on the number of courses a student wishes to take. Each student has an opportunity to distribute and bet a certain amount of points to each course. For example, if a course is popular, then a bigger mileage number will be bet on it. After the betting, the university server automatically calculates the sum and signs students up considering the mileage and the maximum enrollment number. Even though the system requires profound mental calculation and probability skills, it is considered one of the best registration systems due to its creativeness and legitimacy.
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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