by MELISSA LAMM
With registration beginning less than a week away for students with priority status, students and faculty alike are looking ahead to the new course offerings and the upcoming academic semester.
Several new courses are offered for the Spring 2024 semester. In the communications and digital studies department, new courses include DGST 301: Virtual and Augmented Reality, taught by Assistant Professor Brenta Blevins, DGST 301P: Disinformation taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Mladen Petkov and COMM 370U: Sports and the Digital taught by Assistant Professor Emily Crosby.
According to Petkov, the new course on disinformation examines the history of disinformation, the role of new technology in making false or misleading statements viral and the roles scholars offer to respond.
“Debates about disinformation as a deliberate spread of false information for political reasons are taking center stage at times where journalists have limited gatekeeping powers and people align their social identities with those of political leaders,” said Petkov. “Students will learn about the conditions that foster the spread of disinformation and acquire fact-checking skills.”
In the English department, Assistant Professor Zach Whalen will be offering ENGL 451B: Reading Literature with Computers, in the philosophy, classics and religion department, Adjunct Professor Michael McCourt will be teaching PHIL 370: Philosophy of Language and the class IDIS 195: Life and Career After Mary Washington: Careers with Languages will be instructed by Elizabeth Lewis, who is a professor of Spanish.
In light of these new offerings and as usual to past years, registration can often be a difficult process for students due to capacity limits as well as a lack of planning in advance.
“Registration can be intimidating but if you plan in advance it can run rather smoothly,” said UMW Registrar, Rita Dunston.
Dunston advises students to clear holds on Banner—UMW’s administrative portal that provides access to student information, financial aid and course registration—prior to registration, as that may prevent them from registering for courses. After students meet with their academic advisor, the required advising hold is lifted to indicate that the student has communicated with their advisor about their prospective course schedule for the following semester.
Dunston also recommends that students familiarize themselves with available courses and look over their degree evaluations before making an appointment with their advisors. Advisors help guide students in scheduling necessary classes in order to graduate, as well as assist those with undeclared majors in deciding on choosing an area of study.
Dunston also suggests having backup classes as an alternative in case a class fills up, though waitlists offer students the potential to enter the class, especially in the chance that students drop the class between the time they register and the end of the add/drop period. Despite the waitlist opportunities, some students feel frustrated by the process.
“I wasn’t able to get into the COMM 460 for the Fall 2023 semester,” said senior communication and digital studies major Justin Combs. “I know it’s a hard class to get into but I plan on graduating next semester and it’s my last major requirement in order to graduate.”
Some classes fill up quicker than others, making it difficult for students to get some of the classes they need. Anand Rao, professor of communication and communication and digital studies department chair, asserts that efforts are made to mitigate this stress.
“I understand graduating seniors are concerned about getting into COMM 460,” said Rao “But we are committed to making sure that graduating CDS majors have seats in the CDS courses that they need to graduate on time.”
Once registration is complete, students have the option to put themselves on a waitlist for a course through the student information system on Banner. When a seat becomes available, the student at the top of the waitlist will receive an email and have 48 hours to go online and add the course. During this period, students can add or drop the waitlisted course in the student information system. If the student fails to register for the course within the period, the next student on the list will be notified and given 48 hours to register for the class.
A student’s allotted registration period is dependent on the amount of credits they have accumulated. Priority registration, which begins on Nov. 2 at 8 a.m. and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 3, is offered to undergraduate students enrolled with veteran benefits, as well as students in the UMW Honors Program. Seniors will then have the chance to register on Nov. 6, followed by juniors on Nov. 7, sophomores on Nov. 8 and finally freshmen on Nov. 9. For these registration days, students can start selecting their classes at 8 a.m., and the time slot ends at 11:59 p.m. on the same day.