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This past week, the full staff of The Silhouette attended an annual journalism conference hosted by the Canadian University Press. We had a great time; we got nominated for a few awards, met amazing leaders in the industry, got super drunk and danced to Drizzy, the list goes on. We were there for four days, and when we returned, our student staff members were ready to get back into the swing of classes. Everyone was attending their classes like normal, feeling out their course selections, and then, like magic, almost out of nowhere, course add/drop day popped up on our calendars.
In that short, one-week amount of time, students were required to make a decision about how their education for that term would be shaped. Changing a course doesn’t necessarily sound like a huge issue, but consider how one hated course could affect your transcript, or how one selection from a list of suggested courses could lead to you missing a prerequisite for a seminar?
Aside from these hypothetical situations, consider this issue: how can someone properly assess a course when they’ve only had the opportunity to attend one lecture?
I understand that classes need to get started and students need to be learning course materials as soon as possible, but as of right now, there is no way for a student to become acquainted with a course without attending it (unless of course they want to trust outdated information on MacInsiders). Could it be an option for students to add courses to their schedule by a certain, early date, but be able to drop them later on without a charge? Could a solution like this allow students the luxury of trying new courses without being concerned with the financial effects of dropping?
Ours is one of many universities that is currently working to implement more interdisciplinary programs for its students. Programs like Sustainability, Health Sciences and Arts and Science have given students the chance to branch outside their predicted fields and try courses from different programs and faculties. With this in mind, shouldn’t McMaster be working to provide this privilege for the rest of its students? Giving students the chance to try courses for a longer length of time while still being allowed to drop them (without a fee), could encourage students to broaden their horizons and gain the full interdisciplinary experience McMaster is striving for.
Our current course selection structure should strive to make education accessible.