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'95-'96 Courses of Instruction Debuts

New Catalog Features User-Friendly Design, Additional Information

By Alison D. Overholt

The 1995-96 Courses of Instruction, which features a photograph of Memorial Hall on its high-gloss crimson cover, was mailed Wednesday to all Harvard students in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The new course catalog was delivered to the registrar's office Monday and distributed to offices across the University this week.

"We tried to get it around to the University as quickly as we could," said Associate Registrar Thurston A. Smith.

The new course catalog is approximately the same length as previous catalogs, Smith said, and no fundamental changes have been made to the number of courses which are listed in it.

Most of the changes to this year's catalog are cosmetic, such as making use of different fonts and, in certain places, larger print.

"It's more blocked, it just looks a little cleaner," Smith said. "Both the table of contents in the front and the index in the back are in larger print and I think they're really easy to read," he said.

One addition to this year's catalog is the presence of more specific explanations of each course. Some course descriptions now identify if term papers are required so that students can be aware of large requirements when they register for the class.

Smith says the additions reflect a desire of the registrar's office to "put in whatever's most easy." He said the course catalog simply includes the information that individual departments submit, but that departments are always encouraged to be as specific as possible in their course descriptions.

Also, exam groups are no longer indicated by Roman numerals, but are denoted by Arabic numerals.

"[Exam group numbers] were only in Roman numerals to distinguish them from the other numbers, but now that we specify what [the other numbers] are, it's not necessary," Smith said. "I think Roman numerals are just a little more difficult to use than regular numbers."

Course identification numbers and instructor numbers, which were previously unlabeled in the catalog, are labeled in this year's catalog.

"When you're comparing exam groups for your study card, I think it'll be easier," he added.

Something new which students will be receiving as part of their registration packet is a book which combines the Fields of Concentration and the Handbook for Students. Those manuals were previously separate publications.

"We have eliminated redundancies in each so it will be one book," Smith said.

"The Handbook has gone through a lot of scrutiny and I think it will be more up-to-date," he said. "You won't notice a striking difference--there are always some new rules and modifications of policies." "It'll just look very different because it'scombined," Smith said.

International students not living in eitherCanada or Mexico will not receive the new coursecatalog through the mail, Smith said. Instead,they will have to pick up catalogs when theyarrive on campus in September for registration.

In the past, the registrar's office experiencedproblems with international mail; either thecatalog arrived after the students had alreadyleft their home countries or it did not arrive atall, Smith said.

"There hasn't been much negative feedback about[not mailing catalogs overseas]," Smith said."[The catalog] is on-line, so if internationalstudents have some kind of electronic access theycan get it that way.

International students not living in eitherCanada or Mexico will not receive the new coursecatalog through the mail, Smith said. Instead,they will have to pick up catalogs when theyarrive on campus in September for registration.

In the past, the registrar's office experiencedproblems with international mail; either thecatalog arrived after the students had alreadyleft their home countries or it did not arrive atall, Smith said.

"There hasn't been much negative feedback about[not mailing catalogs overseas]," Smith said."[The catalog] is on-line, so if internationalstudents have some kind of electronic access theycan get it that way.

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