Registration issues prevented Social Policy and Sociology students from registering

Image Credit: Dominic Daly

Many students encountered issues with their registration for the beginning of the 2020 academic year, as UCD changes its model for assigning registration times.

This year UCD changed from their previous model of allowing students to register for an earlier registration time, with a general registration period occurring afterward, to assigning specific registration times based on course and stage. In the FAQ section for registration start times on the UCD website, it states that “access to Start Times has been designed with fairness of competition in mind. Students who need to compete for the same modules will be part of the same Start Time allocation group”. However several students found that to not be the case, with some finding themselves with a set registration time that occurred almost a full day behind others in their class.

One course that was heavily affected by this issue was the newly created DN750, Social Policy and Sociology, currently in its third year of existence. In an interview with The University Observer, Jayson Pope, a third-year student and previous class representative for this course, revealed that the course registration was riddled with issues. “The largest issue that we had was, as a joint-major course, we had to pick from a list of sociology modules. We were given nine, and we were told initially to pick three. Of that list of nine, four clashed with core modules for the majority of people on my course, meaning that their options were very restricted.” Pope continued, “[We were] combined with the majority of Sociology students, some of whom were in my course and some of whom were in other courses who had got to register the day before. [This] meant by the time it [came] for my classmates to register, including myself, when we went onto Sisweb, all of those modules were full [...] There were students who couldn’t register for a core module because it had an exclusion for one of their modules for a previous year [...] We had a problem with one of our classes disappearing [from] the registration page, just fully disappearing, out of nowhere, even though people had been registered to it.”

As Pope was one of two class representatives for the course, he dealt with his peers' registration issues as well as his own. “We were unable to register [for] classes. There were some students that had classes as core modules who weren’t even able to register because they were already full.”

Further issues arose throughout the week, even after the initial problems were dealt with. “This was made worse when, two days later, they realised we should have had a requirement to pick four classes. So after getting enough students into three classes, they now had to find a way to get us all into another class on top of that.” Overall, it took four days for Pope to complete his registration, with some in his course having to resolve their issues directly with the Programme Office and the Sociology and Social Policy offices. “It was a long week,” said Pope.

The issue was primarily resolved by adding an extra class time for each module, and by making two extra Sociology modules available to the course. Pope explained that this was possible as “other Sociology students, who didn’t take my specific course, had access to a list of 16 Sociology modules,” seven more than is available on Pope’s specific course.

When contacted for comment, Dr. Micheál Collins, the Programme Director for Social Policy and Sociology confirmed that both second and third-year students faced registration issues that “were associated with adjustments to the new registration process and unfortunately prevented a number of students from completing their registration and pathway choices as planned.” He also confirmed that the issue had been dealt with by himself and colleagues in both associated departments, with a small number of students left to complete their registration and are being “individually assisted” by the Social Science office.

When asked how he felt about the resolution, Pope said that he was “happy that it was resolved. I also feel that my module coordinator and the Sociology School manager were very respectful, very appreciative of me bringing these issues to them [...] I feel that it was unfortunate that it took so long, it was frustrating for myself and for my classmates, who are final year students, to just be unable to register [for modules] because of the issues that we faced.”