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Despite the recent implementation of pre-term planning, which was meant to help College administrators gauge the potential size of spring classes, a frenzy of crowded hallways and overflowing lecture halls heralded the first day of shopping period yesterday.
Students in a number of classes said that they were forced to stand—or were unable to even enter lecture halls—while attempting to shop popular courses.
Between thirty and fifty students listened to the first lecture of Societies of the World 24: “Global Health Challenges: Complexities of Evidence-Based Policy” from outside the classroom, according to student shopper Yuying Luo ’12.
Luo said she only shopped the course for 15 minutes because “there was no point in staying” when she could not even see the professor.
Luo added that she believes that the class drew a large crowed because “global health policy courses at Harvard are a great way to fulfill a Gen Ed.”
But she also said that the course’s popularity may not have been fully reflected in student’s pre-term planning submissions.
“Obviously way more people decided to shop the class than signed up for it in pre-term planning,” she said.
Professor of Public Health Sue J. Goldie, who teaches the course, wrote in an e-mailed statement that between 250 to 300 shoppers showed up for her class, which will be lotteried and capped at 180 students. She added that she received e-mails from students who could not hear information about the lottery during yesterday’s class because they were standing outside in the hallway.
Physical Sciences 1: “Chemical Bonding, Energy, and Reactivity: An Introduction to the Physical Sciences” boasted approximately 400 to 500 shoppers, according to Kathryn A. Wendorf ’14.
Wendorf said she managed to find a seat in the crowded lecture hall, but only because she got there relatively early.
Students and instructors offered various explanations for the persistence of shopping week overcrowding despite the pre-term planning initiative.
Kyle M. Green ‘14, said that he shopped United States in the World 23: “Art and Thought in the Cold War,” though the class was not on his pre-term planning schedule, because he researched the course during winter break and “it looked like a fun Gen Ed.”
Green added that he thinks many students used their down time over the vacation to decide their spring schedules. As a result, he said he thinks pre-term planning was not effective in predicting actual class sizes.
Robert Joseph “R.J.” Jenkins, who is the Head Teaching Fellow for “Art and Thought in the Cold War,” said that the number of students present in yesterday’s lecture exceeded the number that the pre-term planning tool had predicted. But Jenkins added that he does not believe that all the students shopping the class will eventually enroll.
“Given that today is the first day of shopping period, we don’t put much stock in the number of bodies that showed up today,” Jenkins said.
—Staff Writer Julie M. Zauzmer contributed reporting to this story
—Staff Writer Rebecca D. Robbins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
CORRECTION: January 27, 2011
An earlier version of the Jan. 25 news article "Pre-Term Planning Fails to Deter Shoppers" misquoted Professor of Public Health Sue J. Goldie as saying that the lottery for her course had occurred in class. In fact, the lottery is online and ends Thursday.
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