Printed class schedule bulletins to be discontinued this semester

If Tennessee Tech University student mailboxes seem a little different next month, it’s because none of them will contain printed class schedule bulletins.

University administrators recently decided to discontinue the magazine-sized booklets, which have typically been distributed in campus mailboxes each semester prior to advisement and registration.

"That means that when advisement for the 2003 summer and fall terms begins on March 24, students will have to go online for class schedule information," said Rebecca Tolbert, associate vice president of Academic Affairs.

Although class schedules have been available on the Internet for some time, and administrators began considering the eventual phasing out of the printed bulletins as popularity of the online version grew, the state’s continuing budget crisis prompted the change more quickly than many expected.

"Because of the ongoing process of budget cutting on campus, academic departments were having difficulty providing accurate class schedules by the bulletin’s printing deadline," Tolbert said. "Pursuing our plans to publish a bulletin under those conditions would have resulted in one that’s completely obsolete by the beginning of the advisement period."

Efforts have instead been made to insure that the web site contains all the comprehensive background information typically included in the printed bulletins, such as building abbreviations and fee schedules.

"That way, the online information will be complete by the time advisement week for next semester begins and students begin registering for classes," she said.

In fact, Tolbert estimates that the complete information for 2003 summer and fall terms will be accessible on or around March 20.

TTU is not the first state university to offer its class schedule only online.

"The University of Memphis began phasing out its printed class schedules several years ago," Tolbert said. "At first, the school printed a few schedules and sold them in the bookstore, but it went completely online after only three semesters."

What schools such as the University of Memphis found after phasing out their printed bulletins is that the online schedule option offers a number of student advantages that ultimately improve the quality and speed of advisement and registration, Tolbert continued.

In addition to saving several thousand dollars in printing costs each semester, for example, the service provides immediate updates as course sections are opened or closed, allows students to view the information in a variety of formats and lets them download and print that information.

For more information about the online bulletin, go to TTU’s web site at www.tntech.edu, click on Future Students or Current Students and choose Class Schedules under the Registration heading.