Unlocking the grid: Rider introduces new class schedule

By Rachel Stengel

If students wish to take a class during the popular D period next semester, they need to look closely at the new class scheduling system before they click to register.
The grid for class selection has been revamped and re-lettered to create a more consistent system, increased flexibility of class times and better utilization of classroom space, according to Dr. Jonathan Millen, associate dean of Liberal Arts, Education and Sciences.
“Under the present system, more than a third of our courses at Rider are offered at times that don’t fit the grid,” Millen said. “We have a J-Lab class for example that meets Tuesday nights from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and that’s not a period. The realization was that the current grid doesn’t really work if a third of the classes don’t fit. Can we do a better job of making a grid that would work?”
In addition to Millen, the project was devised by the Registrar’s Office; Dr. Laura Hyatt, associate dean of sciences; Dr. Marshall Onofrio, associate dean for administration; Barbara Fruscione, assistant dean of education; Dr. Anne Carroll, associate dean of undergraduate programming; Ronald Walker, associate vice president of Academic Affairs and Eileen Gurwitz, assistant director for the President’s Office.
One of the main issues plaguing students under the current system is the overlap of class start times, according to Millen.
“We have the L period that meets Monday-Wednesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.,” Millen said. “If you have that and a night class that starts at 6 p.m., you physically can’t [get there on time]. So now all evening classes will start at 6:30 p.m.”
Another issue students face with the current system is scheduling days off to accommodate internships, according to Millen.
“If you have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, you can’t duplicate that in the afternoon,” Millen said. “So it’s very hard to have a full day off now.”
In response to this problem, Tuesday-Thursday-Friday classes will no longer exist. Instead, three more 90-minute class periods will be available. Therefore, it will be easier for students to have three- or four-day class schedules.
Hyatt said that learning will be better facilitated with the elimination of the Tuesday-Thursday-Friday periods.
“Instruction periods are more evenly distributed throughout the week, which is better for learning overall,” Hyatt said.

Junior Maeve Nielsen said that the new system will ultimately benefit students, especially commuters.
“It’s great because I love having off on Fridays,” Nielsen said. “It means less money for gas too because I commute.”
Many classes offered do not have letters assigned to them. The new system will correct this issue, Millen said. Classes that usually run from 1:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. will now be incorporated into the scheduling grid as the G period. The purpose of this three-hour afternoon period is to accommodate courses such as TV production, drawing classes and lab sciences, which require a long time length.
The period from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in which education majors typically have class will also appear in the new grid. Teachers will be able to better accommodate education students with this new feature.
“What we’re trying to do is demonstrate that [education majors have class during that period] so when we plan for next year’s courses, we need to know that education majors may not be on campus on certain days,” Millen said.
Several classes will run at the same time, but for different lengths with the new system. For example, in the current schedule, the G period runs Monday and Wednesday from 1:10 to 2:40 p.m. That period will remain, but there will also be a new H period that will take place Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 1:10 to 2:10 p.m.
Initial confusion with the new system is its major disadvantage as students are introduced to it before course selection, but Millen said that the pros of the system outweigh the cons.
“[The new system] will be confusing for some at first, but I’m okay with short-term confusion for the better of student scheduling in the long run,” Millen said.
Freshman Linda Lawton agreed that despite a little confusion, the system will be a positive change.
“It’ll be confusing at first, but you’ll get used to it eventually,” Lawton said. “I wasn’t used to the schedule now, but I eventually got used to it.”
Junior Lila Schneider said she appreciates the opportunities the new grid provides for students with internships, but she noted some potential difficulties for the new system.
“The only thing is how classes overlap, especially when you’re older because there’s only certain classes that you need to take to graduate,” she said. “That could probably be a problem, but we’ll see how it turns out.”

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