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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: logging on in the wee hours of the morning to MyServiceHub to pre-select the courses you’d like to take next semester.
The notoriously stressful course intention period for Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) for the fall 2023 and winter 2024 semesters opens this Thursday at 6 a.m. for all students.
Course intentions open every March for all returning students to indicate which courses they wish to take in the upcoming academic year. Changes can be made during adjustment periods in the spring and fall.
But the software used to conduct this yearly ritual is slow, buggy, and crashes often. For years, students have complained about not getting into the courses they want and have blamed the aging MyServiceHub, previously called RAMSS. Thousands of students log on all at once bright and early to have a shot getting into the classes they want.
Graduating students like Emilee Schnobb are glad to have completed course intentions for the last time and to get to sleep in tomorrow.
Schnobb is in the final semester of her child and youth care degree and says course intentions in the past have left her with a false sense of security.
“It kind of screws you over because you expect to be put into all of the courses you intended,” she said. Schnobb says she’s always been placed into her mandatory courses but has had to choose backup electives and optional courses.
“A couple times I’ve not been added in, so then I’m left scrambling. I know in first-year I ended up having to do two night courses and it’s scary to be downtown at night,” she said.
Schnobb also expressed confusion as to why TMU needs a course intention period in the first place when other universities do not have the same process.
The University of Guelph (UoG) had similarly frustrated students with its 20-year-old course selection program. Just last year it implemented a new, more modern system.
Emily Berzitis handles all communications related to course selection and was on the team that rolled out the new system.
The old UoG system was not user-friendly and required students to manually build their own schedule, she said. This is similar to how the TMU system currently operates.
“It didn’t work on your mobile, that’s for sure. And it definitely had issues as well with crashing on your course selection day,” Berzitis said.
She says she’s received positive feedback from Guelph students and staff advisors alike about new features such as the mobile interface, clearer navigation and a list of student-specific course requirements.
Staff members now have their own tool for advising students.
Berzitis was a student at UoG and says she’s glad current students will have a more user-friendly experience than she did.
The TMU Office of the Registrar (RO) was not available for an interview, but in an emailed statement explained that course intentions allow TMU to plan courses for the upcoming academic year driven by current student choice, while most other universities use historical data to determine which courses to offer.
On the concern of the site crashing tomorrow morning due to student volume, the statement read “we are equipped and do not foresee any issues.”
Also despite most students being eager to get first dibs at 6 a.m., for course intentions at least, there is no difference between inputting tomorrow or March 15—the last day.
“Course intentions start at 6 a.m. but stay open for the duration of the course intention period – so feel free to sleep in!” reads the statement.