A number of student representatives have demanded a review of the online module enrolment process.
In a letter issued to the senior lecturer they outline concerns over issues with online module enrolment (OME) and related issues affecting students and administrative staff.
School of Social Sciences and Philosophy Convenor László Molnárfi, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) Convenor Eoghan Gilroy, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Convenor Seán Lysaght, and TCDSU International Students’ Officer Zaid Al-Barghouthi co-signed the letter which was sent to Professor David Shepard yesterday evening.
In the letter they note; “Every year, like clockwork, administrative and technical issues arise which puts students at an academic disadvantage, not to mention our wellbeing.”
“We believe that the Heads of Schools and the School Managers cannot work with the current system at hand, which is not fit for purpose, especially without proper support structures from higher-up.”
It continues: “It is our understanding that the root of the issue goes much higher-up, up to the Provost’s Office. The shortcomings of the mode of operations of using over-stressed, overworked and under-paid academic workers while not investing in technological solutions is clearly on display here.”
The letter outlines a number of issues which the signatories say have been brought to their attention in the first week of teaching.
It emphasises that these issues cause problems and stress for members of staff as well as students: “All of this places massive stress on already overworked admin staff and therefore creating delays in dealing with actual casework.”
“We would like to request the Senior Lecturer to draft up a plan to review the OME process to identify and address the shortcomings of the system with all relevant stakeholders, including students, and administrative and academic staff, to make sure these issues do not reoccur next year.”
Issues outlined in the letter include delays for returning exchange students and complications relating to front-loading of modules. They also highlight administrative delays leading to overcrowded rooms, and students who lack access to class materials through Blackboard being unsure of who to ask to add them.
It also notes delays to OME for students who have sat reassessment: “This is a fairness issue, as it is putting those students at a disadvantage who may already be struggling with their courses.”
In August it was announced that OME for students who had sat supplemental exams or completed the previous semester abroad would commence two days after the start of term.
Students affected by the delay expressed disappointment and stress but said that it was “not surprising at all”.
Other issues highlighted in the letter include the unexplained cancellation of open modules, timetabling mistakes, grade change requests, and communication issues which lead to lecturers not showing up to lectures.