This year’s freshmen had the choice of registering for a selection of blocked courses. These blocks are each a collection of three classes offered together, for which a student must register for the entire block rather than for the individual courses.
This allows incoming students to stay within the same group for some of their introductory classes and build a peer group amongst the students therein.
Telaina Wrigley, from APSU’s Registrar, explains the new course blocks were chosen and worked out between her office, Enrollment Management and the Dean’s office. “We are focused on student success,” she said. “Grouped students tend to do better. This allows freshmen to start making connections and gives them solid ground to build on.”
Linda Barnes, Director of the Honors Program, said of the new system, “It provides a support group within which freshmen can be comfortable. It helps them stick together, and that support group is crucial for success.”
The blocks were implemented into the registration system by campus IT, and the Registrar’s office remains in close connection with them. This helps to minimize bugs and potential problems. Everything in the registration system is automated, but IT is working at fixing problems quickly if they arise.
Ultimately, IT is keeping things flowing smoothly while also adding new developments.
Freshman John Wood said of the blocked courses, “It is a great idea. It’s a way to already know the group, and to make friends. It encourages camaraderie.”
Of the future of this system, Wood explained, “It sets up for endless possibilities; there is such a wide variety of classes.”
So far, the only substantial issue is working with varying class schedules, which will continue to be less obstructive as more blocks are introduced, as it will make things more flexible and allow students to pick from a larger selection to avoid schedule conflicts.
“This is a great opportunity for students and the university,” Wrigley said. “We want students to complete courses in a timely manner and be successful.”
The program is still in its pilot stage. Being introduced quickly before this term, there are currently only two blocks, one consisting of APSU 1000, an English class and a history class and the other including APSU 1000, an enhanced history class and a speech course.
Because this is a pilot run, the situation will be reevaluated at the end of the term to see what improvements can be made and which courses to include. In the future, students will likely see more courses incorporated, and new students will be able to adjust to campus life more easily, Wrigley said.