The course registration at IITK used to be different. Checking with the professors was the major part of work. Then, of course, time-table, whether the instructor is likely to change it should there be a clash, pre-requisites etc. etc. (I have not listed some of the unofficial considerations :-D)
Then came OARS (Online Academics Registration System), which was suposed to substitute this ‘running around’ by students to faculty. You could submit the request for courses online and the professor can accept or deny it. But it could not really do away with ‘running around’. “The best part of the teaching life is interacting with students. We want to see who is taking our course!” (Now, I am not sure how many students were aware of this; but this was indeed how many of the professors looked at the issue.) Yeah, if there is a rush, many of them would want to ensure that the student is really interested. And then students would also want to try to convince the professor that ‘they really want to do the course’! And there were so many other aspects to this that I can not describe them all. There was a personal touch to the process.
But then I am sure there were downsides. What if you want to do some courses for which there is a rush, but you are not a favourite with the professor? Things have to be left at the ‘whim’ of the professor then… However, I am not sure of how often that used to happen either. At least right now, I can not recall any desperate situation. Somehow, more or less, it would work out fine.
Electives for second year (first year has all compulsory courses) here, at IIML, are allocated by a Software. The rules are pre-coded. If you are concentrating in an area (taking a high number of course in that area) you are given preference. Next tie-breaker is how high you have ranked the course on your preference. And then comes your CGPA. I am sure, I can’t explain all the complications involved; I myself do not understand. 😦
Here, time-table is not your headache, certainly. If you get a course, you need not miss it because it is clashing with something else you want to do. And also, you get rid of professor’s whims. Yeah, being a favourite with a professor would not help here… (There Priya accused me of doing minors under professors, rather then in courses!) But that gets replaced by speculations. Given the kind of rules, whether or not you get something also depends on what other people are taking! And yes – that’s what is happening. Midnight is the deadline for submitting your preferences and its the age of speculations here!! Yes, yes one is also applying all kinds of quantitative methods one can to get some idea of what the situation is like. Real life training indeed 😀 It’s always a mix of logic and intuition+speculation, right?!
I am not comlpaining. Things have their pluses and minuses. This is certainly more democratic. (And number matters here!) And things have their own philosophies too. I am only amused. 🙂